Shell reprimanded over misleading green claims

Photo: ANP

For the second time in six months, Shell has been reprimanded for misleading green claims in an advertisement. The Advertising Code Commission (RCC) has ruled in favor of two citizens who had filed complaints about a newspaper advertisement in which Shell stated: “We are making millions of kilometers cleaner.” An explanation stated that the company does this with green hydrogen for buses, trucks and cars. The RCC has several problems with advertising.

To begin with, the term ‘green hydrogen’ is misleading in this case, is the opinion. Because the hydrogen that Shell sells for vehicles at a handful of locations in the Netherlands is a by-product of chlorine production. The hydrogen is labeled ‘green’ via certificates. This often happens with green energy, but according to the advertising watchdog, it is not what “the average consumer will expect with the designation ‘green hydrogen'”.

The designation “millions” is also problematic, because Shell has not made it clear enough at the meeting how many kilometers are actually driven on the hydrogen in question. In addition, according to the committee, Shell “raises the suggestion of a significant contribution, while this contribution is (at the moment) small in relation to the total number of kilometers driven”.

Shell itself argued that twenty buses now add up to “about 2 million kilometers” per year on the hydrogen in question. Complainant Jilt Sietsma countered that even if this is true, this represents less than 0.5 percent of the total number of kilometers that buses travel per year in the Netherlands. The committee agrees with him. The advertising is contrary to the agreements that advertisers must adhere to, because it does not allow consumers to determine how great the contribution to a cleaner environment really is.

“It is very good that Shell also has sustainable plans, but they are not talking about their continued investments in fossil fuels, which are much larger,” Sietsma explains his complaint. He compares the oil and gas company to “a chain smoker who also eats fruit”.

Shell says it is studying the ruling. The company adds: “We are turning into one of the biggest drivers of the energy transition in the Netherlands. But the energy transition can only succeed if the whole of the Netherlands changes. So we will continue to make efforts to get the Netherlands excited about cleaner ways to heat, transport and produce.”

At the end of August, the RCC also found a Shell advertisement misleading. It was about compensating for CO2 emissions.

Shell reprimanded over misleading green claims
Source link Shell reprimanded over misleading green claims

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