AIRLINE ADVERTS BANNED OVER ‘GREENWASHING’ CLAIMS – Air France, Lufthansa, and Etihad criticised over adverts

Adverts for Air France, Lufthansa and Etihad have been banned for misleading consumers about the airlines’ environmental impact.

Air France’s ad said it was “committed to protecting the environment” and Lufthansa urged passengers to “fly more sustainably”. Etihad’s ad used the words “environmental advocacy”.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the ads did not show the impact airlines have on climate change.

Lufthansa and Etihad removed the ads. The ASA said Air France did not provide a “substantive response” to its investigations. 

The advertising watchdog said by claiming Air France enabled people to “travel better and sustainably”, customers would think the airline offered a sustainable and environmentally friendly way to travel by air, which was not true.

The ASA investigates adverts by companies it suspects of overstating their environmental friendliness, known as “corporate greenwashing”.

Lufthansa said the words “fly more sustainably” were a reference to its “Green Fares” option for passengers on European flights. It said this used some sustainable aviation fuel and made a contribution to climate protection projects.

Etihad Airways said it had immediately removed all references to “environmental advocacy” from its paid-for Google search ads, after receiving the complaint saying sustainability was a “key priority”.

The advertising watchdog said it had picked up the adverts using an artificial intelligence (AI) system, which uses the technology to search for possible rule breakers.