Shell still misleads consumers about the possibility of compensating for the greenhouse gases emitted by their cars, according to the Advertising Code Committee (RCC). According to the committee, the oil and gas company cannot live up to the slogan “Make a difference. Compensate for CO2 emissions”.
The slogan was initially: “Make a difference. Drive CO2-neutral”, but Shell could not prove that customers could fully compensate for greenhouse gas emissions by paying 1 euro cent per liter of petrol.
After the RCC determined that Shell was being misleading, the company changed its slogan. Greenpeace, Reclame Fossilvrij and a citizen subsequently filed a new complaint against Shell with the committee.
Shell cannot substantiate claim
The word “compensation” refers to the “undoing of damage caused”, according to the complainants. The RCC considers Shell’s slogan an “absolute environmental claim”. To substantiate it, the company would have to provide “sound, independent, verifiable and widely recognized evidence”.
According to the RCC, the substantiation that the multinational came up with is insufficient. “Shell has not shown that it is absolutely certain that full and lasting carbon offsetting is guaranteed through its forestry projects.”
Advertising Fossilvrij thinks the ruling will also have “major consequences” for other companies that “claim to nullify their climate damage with CO2 compensation projects”. The RCC ruling on the Shell slogan will allow critics to file complaints against other commercials with similar claims.
Commission reprimanded Shell earlier
Shell has been reprimanded more often by the Advertising Code Committee in recent years. Decisions of the committee are not binding, but according to the Advertising Code Foundation, advertisers follow up in 96 to 97 percent of the cases.
If a company ignores the ruling, it will be placed on a “non-compliant list” and a report will be sent to the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). That government agency can conduct its own investigation and impose fines.
What is the Advertising Code Committee (RCC)?
- The RCC assesses advertisements on the basis of the Dutch Advertising Code.
- In the event of complaints, the organization investigates whether advertisements are misleading, for example.
- The decisions of the independent RCC are not binding, but companies often agree.