16th May, 2008
From cars to petrochemical giants, every man and his dog has green credentials to show off to the world, but just how genuine are they? John Naish takes a closer look
You need to have environmental claims supported by a proper body of scientific experts, rather than one dodgy paper
Earlier this year, French car-maker Renault was censured by Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for portraying its Twingo saloon puffing pretty leaves from the exhaust pipe, as a way of propping up claims that it was eco-friendly. The carmaker had placed its vehicle on a green background, with one of the leaves carrying the words, ‘ECOnomical ECOlogical’. The ASA’s adjudication said that the advert, and in particular the claims ‘ecological’ and the branding ‘eco²’ used in the copywriting, were misleading.
The carmaker said the Twingo had met certain criteria – set by Renault itself – that qualified it to carry the self-styled ‘eco²’ certification. Renault claimed the leaves emerging from the exhaust were illustrative of the fact that tailpipe emissions were generally used in measuring CO². The company’s case was let down, however, by the fact that the Twingo is in the third-from-lowest band of the Government’s emissions rankings.
Green-claim inflation has become a global concern. As the world’s manufacturers scramble to assure buyers that their products are cleaner and more sustainable...
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