Lawyers take action against BP’s ‘greenwashing’ advertising campaign 


Photo: ClientEarth


December 11, 2019



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December 11, 2019



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Environmental lawyers from ClientEarth have filed a complaint against oil giant BP, claiming that it is misleading consumers by declaring in a multimillion-pound advertising campaign that it is focusing on low carbon energy and solutions to climate change.

According to ClientEarth, BP has spent millions of pounds on its current advertising campaign, suggesting it is rapidly transitioning its business to low-carbon energy. “We think this is greenwashing,” the organization’s representatives said.

They added BP’s ‘Keep Advancing’ and ‘Possibilities Everywhere’ campaigns are marked as the biggest marketing blitz in a decade. In the ads, the company claims it is “working to get energy that’s cleaner and better” and producing “cleaner-burning natural gas.”

In short, BP claims to be changing its business and wants you to think that it’s part of the climate solution, the lawyers said.

BP is projecting total capex of USD 15 billion to USD 17 billion, and of this, spending on low-carbon investments will be USD 500 million

But, according to BP’s latest reporting, the company is projecting annual capital expenditure of USD 15-17 billion, and of this, spending on low-carbon investments will be only USD 500 million, the statement adds, with the remainder for its core business of oil and gas.

“Claiming environmental credentials without substantially reducing its fossil fuel production is greenwashing. And that goes against the OECD rules on misleading and deceptive claims. We have submitted a dossier of more than a 100 pages of evidence to the United Kingdom’s National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines – which handles complaints like these – detailing why we think BP’s ads are breaking those rules,” according to ClientEarth.

It is calling on the producer of crude to cease the advertising campaign until it complies with the OECD guidelines, to issue a correction and ensure all future advertising complies with the rules.

Fossil fuels are the new tobacco

ClientEarth has also launched a campaign for a ban on all fossil fuel advertising unless it comes with a tobacco-style health warning about the dangers to the planet and people, given that other major polluters – such as Exxon and Shell – are also running high-profile marketing campaigns.

“In the past, tobacco companies were able to mislead the public about the safety of their products. We see real parallels with fossil fuel companies and the tobacco industry, which knew about the risks their products posed but used misleading marketing campaigns to sell them regardless,” ClientEarth climate accountability lead Sophie Marjanac said.

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