Etihad airline adverts banned over ‘misleading’ environmental claims

The adverts claimed the airline was taking a 'louder, bolder approach to sustainable aviation.'

Etihad airline adverts banned over ‘misleading’ environmental claims Creative Commons

Adverts for Etihad have been banned for making exaggerated claims about the airline’s efforts to achieve “sustainable aviation”.

The two Facebook ads, posted in October, said the airline understood “the impact flying has on the environment” and that it was taking a “louder, bolder approach to sustainable aviation”.

The videos included images of an Etihad Guest Miles card with a plant coming out of it and claims it was cutting back on single-use plastic while flying modern and efficient planes.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated whether the ads were misleading for exaggerating the environmental benefits of flying with Etihad.

The airline released two Facebook adverts in October 2022

Etihad said the claim “sustainable aviation” was not intended to be understood as an absolute solution to the environmental impact of aviation, but would instead be widely understood as a long-term and multi-faceted process.

The airline said it had received a number of awards which were evidence of their sustainability credentials.

The ASA said initiatives such as reducing single-use plastics and using more efficient aircraft were not enough to substantiate the “sustainable aviation” claim.

It said: “We acknowledged Etihad’s comments about the use of modern aircraft and flight practices to reduce emissions.

“We understood, however, that air travel continued to produce high levels of CO2 and non-CO2 emissions which were making a substantial contribution to climate change.

“While we noted steps were being taken by Etihad to reduce the environmental impact of its service, we understood that there were currently no initiatives or commercially viable technologies in operation within the aviation industry which would adequately substantiate an absolute green claim such as ‘sustainable aviation’ as we considered consumers would interpret it in this context.

The ad featured Etihad Guest Miles card with plant growing from it

“We concluded, therefore, that the claim exaggerated the impact that flying with Etihad would have on the environment and the ads breached the code.”

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