Peters & Peters

ASA found Repsol advert misleading

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Key facts:

In June 2023, the ASA upheld a decision against Repsol.

In February 2023, Repsol had published an advert in an online newspaper featuring leaves and text that stated “At Repsol, we are developing biofuels and synthetic fuels to achieve net zero emissions”, followed by a car surrounded by nature and “renewable fuel for more sustainable mobility”.

Repsol noted that it had reduced energy consumption in its industrial centres by 20% in the period 2011-2022, had reduced emissions by more than 20% in all facilities, and set out the steps it was taking in sustainability, including its contribution to electrical charging, renewable generation capacity, and reductions in energy consumption and emissions in industrial centres in other facilities.

Notwithstanding, the ASA concluded that Repsol had omitted material contextual information to explain that the initiative was part of a wider plan to achieve net zero by 2050. It concluded that the basis of the claim “At Repsol, we are developing biofuels and synthetic fuels to achieve net zero emissions” was not clear and it was likely to mislead as a result.

In October 2023, the ASA upheld a further decision against Repsol. This related to a separate advert for the same online newspaper. The CAP Code stated that unqualified environmental claims could mislead if they omitted significant information.

The ASA concluded that the advert gave the overall impression that a significant proportion of Repsol’s business comprised lower carbon energy, such as renewable hydrogen, and therefore further information about the proportion of Repsol’s overall business model that comprised lower carbon energy was material information that should have been included.

As such, the ASA concluded it omitted material information and was likely to mislead.

Source(s):

ASA rulings of June 2023 and October 2023, which relates to the same matter

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