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Lufthansa’s ‘misleading’ green’ adverts banned

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn
Posted:
Updated:
02/03/2023

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned an advert by the German airline that claimed its green initiatives were protecting the world.

A poster for Lufthansa, seen in June 2022, featured an image of the front of a plane in flight. The underside of the plane was represented by an image of the earth from space. The ad included text which stated, “Lufthansa group. Connecting the world. Protecting its future. #MakeChangeFly”.

The ASA challenged whether the ad gave a misleading impression of the advertiser’s environmental impact.

Lufthansa said that the ad contained a clear hyperlink to the website www.makechangefly.com, which formed part of the wider “#MakeChangeFly” campaign. It said the purpose of the ad and wider campaign was to address the need to reduce the impact of flying on the environment and make consumers aware, chiefly via the website, of how Lufthansa was achieving that.

Lufthansa told the ASA that its environmental claims were based on aspirations, including becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and halving carbon emissions by 2030.

It said the tagline, “Connecting the world. Protecting its future” was “open to interpretation” and that any consumer who saw the ad would be able to see, via the website, the environmental impact of air travel and Lufthansa’s actions to mitigate it.

But the ASA upheld the complaint, saying the advertising code required that absolute environmental claims must be supported by a high level of substantiation.

 

Claims could mislead consumers

The regulator said: “We noted Lufthansa’s comments that the campaign was based on specific steps taken to be more environmentally friendly, including aspirations to become carbon neutral by 2050 and to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030.

“However, the claim ‘protecting its future’ was not qualified with this information. We considered the claim was likely to be understood by consumers to mean that Lufthansa had already taken significant mitigating steps to ensure that the net environmental impact of their business was not harmful.”

The ASA told Lufthansa to ensure that the basis of future environmental claims was made clear and did not give a misleading impression of the impact caused by travelling with the airline and that robust substantiation was held to support them.