Shell charged with greenwashing in the UK
Dutch oil and gas corporation Shell has been banned from running certain advertisements in the UK. In the campaign, Shell advertises its efforts to provide renewable energy and expand charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
According to the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the ads are misleading about Shell’s overall environmental impact. It said the adverts did not provide material information about Shell’s involvement in more polluting fossil fuel-related activities.
The ban includes a television advert, a billboard displayed in Bristol and a YouTube advert.
Shell was not impressed with the decision, as a spokesperson told reporters: “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. No energy transition can be successful if people are not aware of the alternatives available to them. That is what our adverts set out to show, and that is why we’re concerned by this short-sighted decision.”
The company is not the only rebranded “energy company” facing these charges. In France, legal action is currently underway as Greenpeace France, Friends of the Earth France and Notre Affaire a Tous, supported by ClientEarth, filed a lawsuit in March 2022 against Total, arguing that the company’s ‘reinvention’ ad campaign violates European consumer law as it misleads the public on what the company’s plans mean for the climate crisis. TotalEnergies in May, failed to stop the net zero greenwashing case from proceeding, which ClientEarth considers “historic”.