Etihad ads banned over ‘exaggerated’ sustainability claims

By Harry Kemble
12/04/2023
Home » Etihad ads banned over ‘exaggerated’ sustainability claims

Etihad Airways has been warned by advertising watchdogs about making ‘misleading’ sustainability claims in adverts.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) challenged two adverts posted on Facebook in October last year because ‘they exaggerated the environmental benefits of flying with Etihad’.

The authority ruled that both ads breached its UK code and told Etihad to ‘ensure that their ads did not give a misleading impression of the impact caused by travelling with the airline’.

One advert suggested ‘we’re taking a louder, bolder approach to sustainable aviation’ but it gave ‘no further context or explanation as to how sustainable aviation was being achieved’, the ASA said.

The second advert said Etihad was cutting back on single-use plastics and that there was ‘a smaller footprint’ when flying with the Abu Dhabi-based carrier.

The ASA said: “We considered such qualifying information was material to consumers’ understanding of the claim, and without it being made clear in the initial text, consumers would understand the ‘sustainable aviation’ claim to be about Etihad’s whole business.”

The ASA added that while the airline’s ‘sustainable aviation’ claim would be understood in the aviation industry as a long-term goal, the ads were aimed at the public.

Both ads failed to mention Etihad’s desire to be ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2050 or that the ‘sustainable aviation’ claim was a ‘long-term aspiration’, the authority added.

The airline said the ‘sustainable aviation’ claim was ‘not intended to be understood as an absolute solution to the environmental impact from aviation’.

It added that it did ‘not accept that they would be interpreted in that way’, arguing they would ‘be widely understood as a long-term and multi-faceted process in which Etihad had included an aspiration to reach ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2050′.

The term ‘sustainable aviation’, Etihad said, had been ‘a widely used and publicised term in the aviation industry for a number of years and was used by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’.

Etihad added it ‘focused on solutions to fast-track the transition to cleaner fuels, develop a carbon credits ecosystem locally and support strong standards globally, explore and develop emissions avoidance mechanisms through non-CO2 effects and engaging Etihad’s customers and stakeholders in supporting de-carbonisation’.

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