Lufthansa advert banned over ‘misleading’ environmental claims the airline was ‘protecting’ the planet

The Advertising Standards Authority said the ad gave a misleading impression of Lufthansa’s environmental impact

A poster for Lufthansa airline has been banned for making misleading claims about its environmental impact.

The poster, first seen in June last year, claimed that the airline was “protecting” the planet and featured a picture of a plane in flight with the underside represented by an image of Earth from space, followed by the slogan: “Lufthansa Group. Connecting the world. Protecting its future. #MakeChangeFly.”

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated whether the ad gave a misleading impression of Lufthansa’s environmental impact.

It noted that air travel produced high levels of both CO2 and non-CO2 emissions, which were making a substantial contribution to climate change -  and that many of Lufthansa’s initiatives were targeted to deliver results only years or decades into the future.

Lufthansa said the advert’s purpose was to make consumers aware of how the airline was addressing the need to reduce the impact of flying on the environment.

It said the catchline was not an absolute claim or promise that the airline did not cause harm to the environment, and it would be incorrect to conclude that the average consumer would understand the slogan in that way.

The airline’s website outlined steps it was taking to protect the environment, such as buying new aircraft with lower fuel consumption and using sustainable fuel, it said.

‘The ad breached the Code’

The ASA said: “We considered the claim was likely to be understood by consumers to mean that Lufthansa had already taken significant mitigating steps to ensure that the net environmental impact of their business was not harmful. We also understood that there were currently no environmental initiatives or commercially viable technologies in the aviation industry which would substantiate the absolute green claim, protecting its future, as we considered consumers would interpret it.

“We concluded that, because the basis of the claim had not been made clear and it had not been adequately substantiated, the ad breached the Code. We told Lufthansa to ensure that the basis of future environmental claims was made clear and did not give a misleading impression of the impact caused by travelling with the airline and that robust substantiation was held to support them.”