We ask the European Commission to regulate more strictly advertising, the ultimate goal is to ban ads for unsustainable goods and services.
Advertising is a key enabler for meeting the ambitious climate goals of the EU. The EU and the European Commission are planning to invest billions of Euros in a successful green transition. However, many advertising that Europeans see everyday are not promoting sustainable products. For this reason, individuals in the EU feel a strong tension between the messages received from governments, and the messages they receive through advertising.
Still today our cities are covered with ads for polluting large SUVs, while we surf on the internet we see an astonishing number of ads for air travelling, and short stays in far destination are strongly encouraged. Magazines are covered with ads for unsustainable products and services.
Our assessment is that the advertising industry is not acting responsibly in the context of climate change: audacious and ambitious policy actions are required to ensure that European see more ads for sustainable products.
History is repeating, the advertising industry in the past didn’t react responsively to health crisis triggered by alcohol consumption and tobacco consumption. Tight regulation was needed to curb advertising for tobacco and alcohol and limit the health damages for the population.
Today, the advertising industry is not acting responsibly in the context of the climate crisis.
We believe that the EU is the right level for regulating unsustainable advertising. It has successfully regulated advertising for tobacco, alcohol and other toxic goods in the past. It should regulate advertising for good and services that are toxic for the environment and impair efforts to limit climate change.
What do we want to achieve
We want to achieve a strong reduction in unsustainable advertising across the EU, on the basis of fair and uniform rules. This should be particularly the case in sectors that are subdidized with public money or are benefitting from tax exemptions, such as press and magazines.
Cities in transition should be able to ban unsustainable advertising in the street.
We also want to ensure that digital advertising would be tightly regulated to limit the promotion of unsustainable goods and services. In particular, all digital ads should be categorized according to their sustainability levels, and advertisers and users should be able to ban unsustainable advertising themselves, using technologies such as youradchoices or Adblockplus. For this, clear rules regarding the categorisation of ads need to be defined at the European level.