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The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority on Wednesday banned TV, online, and newspaper ads of Shell, Repsol, and Petronas in which the oil giants have overstated their efforts in advancing green energy, “misleadingly omitting” the large share of fossil fuels in their business.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) told the three companies their TV, YouTube, and newspaper ads currently circulated in the UK “must not appear again” in their current form as they are “likely to mislead consumers if they misrepresented the contribution that lower-carbon initiatives played, or would play in the near future, as part of the overall balance of a company's activities.”
In Shell’s case, a poster in Bristol, a TV ad, and a YouTube ad “misleadingly omitted material information about the proportion of their business activities that were comprised of lower carbon activities,” ASA said in its ruling.
Repsol, for its part, had a paid-for online display ad, which “misleadingly omitted material information including how and when Repsol would achieve net zero emissions, and the role that the development of biofuels would play in that plan.”
Malaysia’s Petronas has a TV ad that “misleadingly omitted material information about the balance of its current activities, its emissions, and the pathway to reducing them,” the advertising watchdog said.
Commenting on the ruling, a Shell spokesman told Sky News, “We strongly disagree with the ASA's decision, which could slow the UK's drive towards renewable energy.”
“People are already well aware that Shell produces the oil and gas they depend on today. When customers fill up at our petrol stations across the UK, it's under the instantly recognisable Shell logo.”
Shell added that “No energy transition can be successful if people are not aware of the alternatives available to them.”
Guy Parker, CEO of the advertising watchdog, explained the decision to ban the ads in an interview with Bloomberg Green, “These companies did not go far enough in their campaigns to provide at least some information for readers and viewers of the ads that told the other side of the story.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.