Equinor sued over misleading advertising in the UK

Equinor sued over misleading advertising in the UK

The criticism concerns that Equinor should have equated oil and gas with wind energy and carbon dioxide2– Capturing and storing an ad, not knowing that the latter two make up a relatively small percentage of what the company does.

The ad is said to have breached rules on misleading marketing and environmental claims.

The bottom line is that Equinor may never run the ad again as it appears now. The company must also ensure that future marketing with environmental and climate claims is not misleading, by omitting important information about the proportion of the company’s activities that include renewable energy and CO2.2-catch and -storage actually form.

Equinor tells TU they are disappointed by the ruling.

Secretary General Caroline Andor of WWF’s World Wide Fund for Nature described this as abhorrent greenwashing, and believes this is just another example of Equinor exposing it for what it is:

– a fossil fuel company, she tells TU.

A small percentage is renewable

She’s British Advertising Standards Authority (Asa) is behind the pieces.

The ad in question was published in June this year in The Economist. Here the oil company makes the claim that “wind, oil, gas, carbon capture (…)” and “it’s all part of the big energy picture.”

In addition, the footnote should have stated that “Equinor has provided energy solutions to the UK for 40 years, and we are now working to help the UK in the energy transition (…) We produce the oil and gas the UK needs now; and will provide “Powering millions more homes using wind, capturing carbon and storing it safely (…). There is ample energy for a brighter future.”

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Among other things, the ASA points out that renewable energy and low-carbon solutions, which include carbon dioxide2– Capture and storage account for only 14 percent of the company’s investments in 2022 – In the future, oil and gas will also constitute the largest share of Equinor’s activities.

Although the company is involved in a number of wind farms and CO2 projects2– Storage in the UK, they are also involved in a number of oil fields internationally and are the largest owner and operator of the Rosebank development project on the British shelf – a development that has been met with significant protests.



Deletes relevant information

The ASA writes that the claim of “wind, oil, gas and carbon capture” means that each of the activities is equally prominent.

Without sufficient information, this could be interpreted to mean that CO2Capturing energy from wind farms constitutes a large proportion of Equinor’s activities, both now and in the near future, along with oil and gas.

We therefore consider that further information about the ratios in Equinor’s business model was relevant information, which should have been included, the ASA wrote.

Because the advertisement did not contain this information, the conclusion is that the company violates the rules of misleading marketing and marketing misleading environmental claims.

Disappointed

To TU, Equinor says they respect the ASA’s ruling, but are disappointed by it.

“We will take it into account in future campaigns,” says Alice Baxter, spokeswoman for the company’s British operations, otherwise referring to the answer they provided to the ASA.

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In response, Equinor noted that the aim of the announcement was to show that Equinor was involved in a broad energy mix, and that it would highlight the company’s contribution to the UK beyond oil and gas, which includes activities in renewable energy and carbon dioxide capture.

The company also points out that the advertisement does not contain any subjective or ambiguous terms, and that the words “oil” and “gas” are prominent in the advertisement. The text also states that the company produces the oil and gas that Britain now needs.

They also noted that the ad contained an image of an oil rig and an oil worker.

– Green washing

Andaur at WWF believes that since the name change five years ago, Equinor has come a long way in trying to create the impression that it is a driving force for more green energy.

– At the same time, we know that the energy they produced in 2022 was 99.87 percent fossil and 0.13 percent renewable, she says.

– At a time when the world is witnessing increasingly dire consequences of climate change, caused by emissions from oil and gas, it is unacceptable to wash one’s green wallet in this way, continues Andor.

She believes that recent news about large gas contracts and oil projects proves that Equinor is trying to extend the fossil age when the countries of the world have just agreed to transition away from fossil energy.

– Equinor got their passport signed, after they were caught for greenwashing and must remove the ad permanently. Hopefully this ruling will mean more honesty going forward, but it will also mean a real green shift at the oil giant, Andor points out.

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Hanisi Anenih

Hanisi Anenih

"Web specialist. Lifelong zombie maven. Coffee ninja. Hipster-friendly analyst."

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