A Dutch advertising watchdog group is calling out Royal Dutch Shell for misleading advertising even as the oil giant faces pressure from the country’s courts.
After releasing its “Drive CO2 Neutral” campaign, Shell is feeling the heat, writes Bloomberg Green. The colossal fossil has been relying on the new offset campaign, which offers customers the option of paying extra to help the company donate to tree-planting and other efforts to sequester atmospheric carbon, in a bid to meet its overall pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
However, after investigating a complaint from nine law students at Amsterdam’s Free University, the Netherlands’ Advertising Code Committee ruled against Shell, saying the campaign is misleading.
“It gives the impression that customers can achieve carbon-neutral driving by paying only 1 extra euro cent (US$0.012) per litre of gasoline,” explains Bloomberg.
Though the committee’s ruling isn’t binding, Shell has publicly testified through a spokesperson that it “takes its responsibilities as an advertiser extremely seriously.” The spokesperson further avowed that “Shell’s ‘Drive CO2 Neutral’ program is a genuine and important initiative to give consumers the option to offset CO2-emissions associated with the fuel they purchase.”
The company has pledged to “study the ruling in detail and consider any necessary changes to communications.”
Bloomberg says the marketing headwinds arrive just three months after a court ordered Shell “to cut its carbon emissions by 45% over the next decade, a much faster pace than it had planned.”