Shell continues to mislead consumers about the potential for offsetting greenhouse gases emitted from their cars, according to the Advertising Law Commission (RCC). According to the commission, the oil and gas company cannot live up to the slogan “Make a difference. Make up for CO2 emissions.”
The slogan was initially: “Make a difference. CO2-neutral driving”, but Shell could not prove that customers could fully offset their greenhouse gas emissions by paying one euro cent per liter of gasoline.
After the Revolutionary Command Council decided that Shell was misleading, the company changed its logo. Greenpeace, Reclame Fossilvrij and a citizen subsequently submitted a new complaint against Shell to the commission.
You cannot prove the allegation
The word “compensation” refers to “the nullification of the damage caused,” according to the complainants. RCC considers Shell’s motto to be “an absolute environmental claim”. To prove this, the company has to provide “sound, independent, verifiable and widely recognized evidence.”
According to the Revolutionary Command Council, the evidence provided by the multinational is insufficient. “Shell has not shown that it is absolutely certain that full and lasting carbon offset is assured through its forestry projects.”
Fossilvrij Advertising believes the ruling will also have “serious consequences” for other companies that “claim to reverse their climate damage with CO2 offset projects”. The RCC ruling on the Shell logo will allow critics to file complaints against other commercials with similar claims.
The committee reprimanded Shell earlier
Shell has been reprimanded more than once by the Advertising Code Commission in recent years. Committee decisions are nonbinding, but according to the Advertising Code Foundation, advertisers follow through in 96 to 97 percent of cases.
If a company ignores the ruling, it will be placed on a “non-compliant list” and a report will be sent to the Dutch Consumer and Markets Authority (ACM). This government agency can conduct its own investigations and impose fines.
What is the Advertising Code Committee (RCC)?
- RCC evaluates advertisements on the basis of Dutch advertising law.
- If there are complaints, the organization checks whether the ads are misleading, for example.
- Independent Communications Board decisions are not binding, but companies often agree.
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