This Ruling forms part of a wider piece of enforcement work on climate change and the environment. The ad was identified for investigation following intelligence gathered by our Active Ad Monitoring system, which uses AI to proactively search for online ads that might break the rules.
A paid-for Google ad for Air France, seen in July 2023, stated “Manchester to Bangkok […] Air France flights […] Air France is committed to protecting the environment: travel better and sustainably”.
The ASA challenged whether the ad gave a misleading impression of the advertiser’s environmental impact.
Air France-KLM did not provide a substantive response to the ASA’s enquiries.
The CAP Code required that absolute environmental claims must be supported by a high level of substantiation.
The ASA considered that the claim that “Air France is committed to protecting the environment” and the claim that they enabled people to “travel better and sustainably” would be understood by consumers to mean that Air France offered a sustainable and environmentally friendly way to travel by air. We therefore expected to see a high level of evidence which demonstrated how Air France were protecting the environment and making aviation sustainable.
We understood that air travel produced high levels of both CO2 and non-CO2 emissions, which were making a substantial contribution to climate change. We also understood that there were currently no initiatives or commercially viable technologies in operation within the aviation industry that would adequately substantiate absolute green claims, such as that Air France were “committed to protecting the environment” and helped people “travel better and sustainably”, as we considered consumers would interpret them in this context.In the absence of any evidence demonstrating that Air France were protecting the environment and making aviation sustainable, we concluded that the claims gave consumers a misleading impression of the impact that travelling with Air France would have on the environment. The ad therefore breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), and 11.1 and 11.3 (Environmental claims).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Air France-KLM t/a Air France to ensure that their ads did not give a misleading impression of the impact caused by travelling with the airline, and that robust substantiation was held to support all objective claims.