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WWF gets Shell oil advert banned

by Alan Harten
August 13, 2008

The World Wildlife Fund’s complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), regarding oil company Shell’s newspaper advertisement that claimed that Shell was building a “profitable and sustainable future”, has been upheld.

The ASA has now ordered that the advertisement or anything similar may not be shown again.

The WWF made the complaint over several claims in the short advertisement that the WWF said were what it called “greenwash”, meaning that Shell were attempting to show the company as a “green’ organisation.

The WWF say that companies may now realise that such unfounded or misleading claims are not acceptable.

Amongst other things, Shell claimed to be using its technical and financial expertise to unlock huge Canadian oil sands deposit, and to build the USA’s largest refinery.

According to the ASA the company failed to produce any data to back up claims that it was controlling carbon emissions at the oil sands sites to help reduce climate change, therefore the ad was misleading in nature.

The ASA accepted claims that their US Port Arthur plant had reduced emissions but also added that expansion of the plant’s facilities would now increase total emissions not reduce them.

Shell had also countered that the Canadian oil sands plant would reduce C02 emissions by around 10% and that the company had its own self imposed “green code”.

They also said that they would accept the judgment of the ASA

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