Campaigners report Luton Rising ads to ASA over greenwash claims


Campaigners have reported Luton Airport adverts to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over greenwash concerns.

The ads, which have been seen on billboards across the London tube network, on Meta and in political magazine the New Statesman, have been placed in the run up to a government decision on the airport’s expansion.

The complaint, which was made during a week of Europe-wide protests action demanding a ban on airline advertising and sponsorships, is about the Luton Rising campaign created by Hope agency, which claimed that the “airport’s expansion would be stopped in its tracks” if “environmental limits” were breached.

The campaigners argue that it amounts to greenwash because it failed to include figures around emissions from flights, which make up more than 80% of the airport’s total emissions.

The groups lodging the complaint include Stay Grounded, Badvertising, Adfree Cities, and climate charity Possible.

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It follows on from Adfree Cities sharing a new set of research which reveals that every £1 spent on airline advertising or sponsorship leads to between 42-71kg of CO2 emissions.

“Luton Airport’s greenwashing adverts justify its expansion on a totally false promise of environmental responsibility, using “green” language and completely failing to mention the huge climate impact of millions of additional flights,” said Stay Grounded spokesperson Hannah Lawrence.

Badvertising spokesperson Robbie Gillett added: “We are stuck in a dangerous logic that airports must expand ‘to met a growht in demand – but that growth is being driven, in part, by advertising encouraging us to fly.”

He continued: “Stating that ‘people are always going to fly’ is like saying ‘people are always going to smoke cigarettes'”

“We have intervened to stop advertising for tobacco. So too should we remove the constant calls to buy more flights.”

The ASA has previously banned adverts for airlines including Etihad, Lufthansa and Air France over misleading green claims.

In a statement shared with Marketing Beat, Luton Rising said: “The ASA has been in contact to request information about the campaign which we provided.”

“The claims and facts in the advertisements were thoroughly checked before the campaign launched. Luton Rising would never intentionally run a false or misleading advertisement. We have developed sustainability protocols and uphold our pledge to not expand if it would lead to a breach of the environmental thresholds laid out in our green controlled growth framework.”

Featured Image credit: Adfree Cities


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