An ad campaign by Etihad Airways trumpeting its approach to “sustainable aviation” has been banned by the UK’s advertising watchdog, which ruled that it was misleading consumers about the environmental impact of flying.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) national carrier, which has an extensive marketing strategy that includes sponsorship of the Manchester City Premier League team with stadium naming rights, ran two Facebook ads to promote its green credentials.
Recognizing the impact of flying on the environment, the ads promote the airline’s “stronger, bolder vision for sustainable aviation”, including pushing the idea that choosing Etihad is a “conscious choice for the planet” and promoting initiatives such as reducing single-. use plastic cutlery
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has launched an investigation into the campaign – which uses imagery referring to plants, the earth, and Etihad as the “greenest airline of 2022” – citing concerns that the claims “exaggerate environmental benefits” are misleading. flying” with the airline.
Etihad said its claim on sustainable aviation would not be seen as an “absolute solution” to the environmental impact of flying, but understood it was a “long-term and multi-faceted process” with the aspiration of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The airline said its approach included restructuring its fleet to use modern, fuel-efficient aircraft and developing “sustainable aviation fuel generation” in the UAE.
However, the ASA stated that, under UK marketing regulations, full environmental claims such as “sustainable aviation” must be backed up by a high level of evidence.
“We have noted that Etihad is taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of its services,” the ASA said.
“[However], we realize that there is currently no initiative or commercially viable technology within the aviation industry that would adequately substantiate an absolute green claim such as ‘sustainable aviation’ as we consider that consumers would interpret it in this context,” ASA said in the judgment.
“Therefore, we conclude that the claim exaggerated the environmental impact of flying with Etihad and that the ads breached the [advertising] code.
Etihad is the latest major brand to be called out by the ASA after the watchdog committed in September 2021 to clamp down on unsubstantiated or misleading green claims by firms.
Last month, ASA banned an advertising campaign by German airline Lufthansa that claimed its green initiatives were saving the world.
Last year, the ASA banned marketing and marketing campaigns primarily based totally on deceptive environmental or inexperienced claims by companies including alt-milk brand Oatley, Pepsi-owned tea brand Lipton, and Unilever’s Persil detergent.
Other brands that have faced ASA sanctions for climate claims in recent years include Ryanair, HSBC, and energy companies Esso and Shell.