British Gas Reprimanded for Greenwashing

by | Jan 31, 2008

bg2.jpgThe Advertising Standards Authority said that British Gas broke advertising rules by describing its “greenest” dual fuel package as “zero carbon” in a TV commercial. Fourteen viewers complained it produced CO2 as a by-product, prompting an investigation in which the ASA found the commercial in breach of five advertising rules including environmental claims. It told the company not to repeat the commercial in its current form. British Gas began its new green campaign this past fall.

And in a newspaper advertisement, British Gas described its Zero Carbon deal as “… the greenest domestic energy tariff compared to those on the energywatch website,” but the ASA said the “greenest domestic energy tariff” claim was misleading because it could not be proven and was not audited by an independent authority. British Gas said energywatch had not ranked the firm’s green tariffs, and in the absence of an external assessment the company did its own comparison.

British Airways was recently reprimanded by the ASA over emissions claims it had made.

In the U.S., The FTC held its first workshop on green advertising earlier this month. The agency’s plan is to update its “green guides.”

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