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Red card for “green” car claims

Advertising watchdog rules that adverts for “green” and “clean” electric cars misled the public

26 June 2014

ELECTRIC cars cannot be advertised as being “green” or “clean”, France’s Jury of Advertising Ethics (JDP) has ruled.

It said that a Renault Zoe advert with the slogan “To fight pollution, drive a car” that was posted around Paris when traffic measures were introduced to fight a pollution crisis was misleading.

It said that the advert made ecological and environmental claims “without any element of relativity or comparison”.

It also said that using electric cars still has an impact on the environment due to wear and tear of parts and charging needs.

While accepting that electric cars can help reduce pollution, the JDP said: "The advertising at issue explicitly encourages consumers to drive in electric car to reduce air pollution.

“There are many other means of transport which it is commonly believed are less harmful to the environment, such as cycling or collective transportation.

“It therefore sends a message contrary to generally accepted principles of sustainable development.”

Renault said the advert was “timely” as it came at a time when alternating traffic measures were in force in Paris, and electric cars were exempt from the ban.

The decision comes following a complaint from the Association of National Federation of transport users associations (FNAUT) in March.

In April, the JDP issued a similar ruling against Paris’s electric car-sharing service Autolib, Bordeaux’s Bluecab, and Lyon’s Bluely - all of which said on their websites that their vehicles were “ecological” and “clean”.

"These advertisements must be balanced” Stéphane Martin, CEO of the Professional Advertising Regulatory Authority (ARPP), said.

“Every vehicle has an impact on the environment during its construction as its life cycle. You cannot describe the electric car as ‘clean’ but it can be argued that it contributes to sustainable development and is cleaner than non-electric cars."

Photo: phalenebdlv

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