It’s Wednesday, September 1, and the Netherlands’ advertising watchdog is calling out Shell’s greenwashing.
The Netherlands’ Advertising Code Committee, an independent oversight body funded by the advertising industry, ruled that Shell misled customers with a carbon-offsetting campaign that promised carbon-neutral fossil fuels for drivers.
The campaign, “Drive CO2 Neutral,” tells customers that they can pay one extra cent (in euros) per liter of gasoline to completely offset their vehicle’s carbon emissions by funding conservation projects in Canada, Peru, and Indonesia. However, the advertising committee found that Shell could not prove it was fully offsetting the emissions from its gasoline.
The company has two weeks to appeal the ruling, which doesn’t carry the force of law. A Shell spokesperson told Bloomberg Green that the company would “study the ruling in detail and consider any necessary changes to communications.” Shell runs similar carbon-offsetting programs for consumers in Canada and the U.K.
This isn’t the first time that Shell has come under scrutiny from advertising watchdogs. Last year, Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority launched an investigation but found that the oil giant’s campaign was acceptable. Earlier this year, New York City sued Shell and two other oil companies for “systematically and intentionally deceiving” the public by using words like “cleaner” and “emissions-reducing” while ignoring the role fossil fuels play in the climate crisis.
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