Green Ads Raise Red Flags Worldwide

Saab Australia ad, which has since been <a href="" target="_blank">ruled misleadingAn increase in "green" marketing has led to scrutiny by watchdogs around the world. Britain's Advertising Standards Authority recently ruled that television ads from the Malaysian Palm Oil Council were "likely to mislead viewers as to the environmental benefits of oil-palm plantations." The ads claimed that palm oil trees "give life and help our planet breathe," but in reality many palm oil plantations are on illegally cleared rainforest land. In September 2007, Norwegian regulators "banned all cars ads from stating that their vehicles are 'green,' 'clean' or 'environmentally friendly,'" since car production means more carbon emissions. In the U.S., the Council of Better Business Bureaus ruled that "a distributor of infant feeding bottles had to drop ads that claimed that the plastic used in a competitor's bottles was unsafe for both the environment and kids." The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also planning to update its environmental advertising guidelines, which currently include standards for what can be marketed as "recyclable" or "biodegradable." As mentioned in an earlier Spin, there are no FTC standards for "carbon neutral" or greenhouse gas emissions offset programs.