Peters & Peters

ASA demands ‘robust substantiation’ for Air France’s absolute green claims

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Key facts:

The ASA challenged whether an Air France paid-for Google advert in July 2023 gave a misleading impression on the company’s environmental impact. The advert contained the statement that “Air France is committed to protecting the environment: travel better and sustainably”.

Air France-KLM did not respond substantively to the ASA’s enquiries.

Under the CAP Code, absolute environmental claims must be “supported by a high level of substantiation”. The ASA found that consumers would understand the statements as meaning Air France provided a sustainable and environmentally friendly way to travel, and it would therefore expect a strong basis for such claims.

The ASA noted that air travel produced emissions were contributing substantially to climate change, and that it was not aware of any initiatives or commercially viable technologies in operation within the aviation industry that could adequately substantiate absolute claims such as Air France travel allowing individuals to “travel better and sustainably” and it being “committed to protecting the environment”.

The ASA concluded that, without evidence to substantiate such statements, the claims were giving consumers a misleading positive impression of Air France’s environmental impact. The advert breached rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 11.1 and 11.3 (Environmental claims) of the CAP Code.

The ASA identified the advert by using artificial intelligence in the form of its ‘Active Ad Monitoring system’. This system proactively searches for online adverts that might breach its rules.

The ASA ordered that the advert must not again appear in the complained form and advised Air France-KLM to ensure its adverts did not give a misleading impression on the impact of its travel, and to ensure robust substantiation of all objective claims.

Source(s):

ASA ruling

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