The Advertising Code Committee (RCC), the body that assesses whether an advertisement complies with the Dutch Advertising Code, finds an advertisement by oil and gas company Shell misleading, she writes on Friday. This means that Shell has to stop the commercials. The complaint against Shell was lodged by a group of law students from the VU University Amsterdam (VU).
Shell promises in the advertising that the Dutch will be able to fully compensate for the CO2 emissions from their refueling for an extra 1 cent per litre. This would be compensated by forest conservation and tree planting.
The law students of the VU went to the advertising agency in April, because the claim “is inadequate in many respects and is also uncertain”, student Lisa van Langen said at the time.
The RCC agrees with the complaint of the VU students and concludes that the effect of the extra cent is difficult to substantiate.
“The damage of CO2 to the climate is certain, while the oil and gas multinational can never guarantee how many and how long forest conservation and planted trees will keep CO2 out of the air”, according to the Advertising Code Committee.
Furthermore, the advertising agency takes into account the fact that Shell makes an absolute environmental claim without being able to substantiate that claim with verifiable and independent sources. The combination of the two thus leads to the stamp of “misleading”.
The oil and gas group was not reachable by telephone,but said that it was fully behind the advertising. Shell can still appeal against the two rulings.