Lufthansa’s ‘green’ ad campaign backfires in the UK

Lufthansa’s advertising campaign, which claims its green initiatives will protect the world, has been banned by Britain’s advertising watchdog after it found it misled consumers about the environmental impact of flying.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has launched an investigation into a campaign with a plane with an image of the Earth and the banner: “Connecting the world.” Protecting our future”—concerned that the German airline is providing consumers with “misleading information” about its environmental impact.
Lufthansa said the advertising slogan was “interpretive” and that consumers would not see it as an “absolute promise” about the environment or that its planes did no harm.
Lufthansa said the poster campaign, which included a link to the environmental campaign Make Change Fly’s website, was about the need to reduce the impact of flying and make people aware of Lufthansa’s activities.


Lufthansa told the ASA that its environmental claims are based on aspirations that include carbon neutrality by 2050 and halving carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.
However, the ASA said that consumers will see the announcement as a claim that Lufthansa has already taken “significant mitigation measures.” ensure that the net environmental impact of their business activities is not harmful.
“Many of these initiatives are not intended to produce results for years or decades from now,” the ASA said. “We also realised that there are currently no environmental initiatives or commercially viable technologies in the aviation industry to support the absolute green claim of “protecting our future” as we thought consumers would interpret it.”
The ASA banned the advertising campaign and called on Lufthansa to make clearer and better documented environmental claims in the future and not to misrepresent the impact of flying with the airline.
“Climate change and the environment are central and persistent issues of our time,” said Miles Lockwood, director of complaints and investigations at the ASA. “Advertisers should not make claims that mislead consumers  about their green credentials and plans or that they cannot support with hard evidence.” 
Lufthansa is the latest major brand to be called out by the ASA after the watchdog pledged in September 2021 to crack down on companies making unsubstantiated or misleading green claims.
Last year, the ASA banned advertising campaigns based on misleading environmental or green claims by companies such as milk brand Oatley, Pepsi-owned tea brand Lipton, and Unilever’s Persil detergent.
Other ASA bans in recent years have included those on Ryanair, HSBC, and energy companies Esso and Shell.

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