The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has imposed a ban on Norway energy company Equinor from repeating certain environmental claims following a series of ads by Equinor that were deemed misleading in their portrayal of the company’s environmental credentials.
The issue centers around an ad placed in The Economist in June, wherein Equinor suggested that wind farms, oil and gas, and carbon capture technologies played a balanced role in its energy mix.
The ASA highlighted that the majority of Equinor’s revenues are still derived from oil and gas, contrary to the implications of their advertisements.
In response to the ASA, Equinor stated that the ad was targeted at decision-makers, including politicians, rather than the general public.
In similar ads across various British media, Equinor cited "wind, oil, gas, carbon capture and new jobs" as components of "the broader energy picture."
The ASA's ruling addressed the potential for these ads to mislead the public by exaggerating the role of lower-carbon initiatives in Equinor’s overall business activities.
It emphasized that future ads featuring environmental claims must not mislead by omitting information about the proportion of renewable energy and carbon capture and storage in Equinor’s current business.
Equinor told the Financial Times it was disappointed by the ASA's ruling but acknowledged respect for the decision and agreed to take it into account for future advertising campaigns.
The ban comes amidst growing environmental concerns, with campaigners arguing that new oil and gas fields are incompatible with the U.K.'s greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.
This is not the first time Equinor has faced scrutiny in the U.K.
In 2019, the ASA warned the company against implying that gas is a "low-carbon energy" source, challenging the portrayal of methane-rich fuel as a greener alternative.