The UK is taking a strong stance against greenwashing practices. Following a ban on advertisements by oil and gas companies Ryanair and Lufthansa, three new airlines have been caught.
The UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has prohibited Air France, Lufthansa, and Etihad on Google ads. The ASA believes that the ads violated the British advertising code by providing a misleading impression of the advertiser's environmental impact.
Air France's advertising claimed that the airline is dedicated to protecting the environment by making aviation sustainable. However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found no evidence to support this claim. The ASA criticized the airline's advertising for making false and misleading claims about its commitment to sustainability.
Lufthansa Pinned a Second Time
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has found some airlines guilty of making misleading environmental claims in their advertisements. Lufthansa was found to be unclear in its claim that customers could "fly more sustainably." The ASA stated that the airline did not adequately explain this claim. Lufthansa clarified that the claim referred to its "Green Fares" option, which allows passengers to reduce their environmental impact through a combination of cleaner fuels and carbon offsets.
Etihad was also found to be misleading in its advertising, which claimed customers could travel "with complete peace of mind" and mentioned the airline's environmental advocacy. The ASA found no evidence that Etihad was engaged in environmental advocacy or actively working to protect the environment in a way that would provide customers with peace of mind when using their services. Following the ASA's action, Lufthansa and Etihad removed their advertisements, while Air France did not respond substantially to the requests.
The Greenwashing Practices Pose Threats to Tourism Industry Stakeholders
According to the International Energy Agency, aviation emissions have increased to almost 80% of their pre-pandemic levels in 2019. As industry recovers from the pandemic and travel restrictions, these emissions will rise even further. However, the aviation industry's contribution to climate change has become increasingly scrutinized, as it is responsible for 3% to 5% of global carbon dioxide emissions.
Experts from investment bank Cambon Partners warn that travel companies may be held accountable for greenwashing. This includes B2B distributors and B2C intermediaries involved in in-flight sales. Even if these companies merely relay airline or hotel claims, they could still face legal action for making false environmental claims.