ASA head of marketing to look at green claims in ads

The Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) new marketing chief has pledged to help tackle the issue of regulation of green claims in ads.

Esra Erkal-Paler will take over the role of director of communications and marketing next week. She was previously director of corporate communications and external affairs for L’Oréal. She replaces Claire Forbes who has joined the Youth Justice Board.

Erkal-Paler says the regulation of digital advertising and environmental claims are among the most pressing challenges she faces.

Next week, the ASA is holding a seminar to try to thrash out industry guidelines over green claims. “We need parameters to measure claims against,” says an ASA spokesman.

This week the ASA rejected complaints against two ads that made environmental claims. The first was over a press and e-mail ad for Eurostar that stated its services from St Pancras were “carbon neutral”. Complainants said the claim did not take into account emissions from the tunnel itself and those associated with the construction of the track.

The ASA found that Eurostar was not responsible for the emissions from the tunnel as it is a separate business. It also consulted an expert over Eurostar’s offsetting programme an deemed the claims to be valid.

EDF Energy received complaints over an ad about the “carbon intensity” (the amount of carbon produced per unit of electricity) of its CO2 emissions. Complainants said the phrase was confusing as people could think it meant carbon emissions. According to the ASA, the claim was not misleading, as it did not imply EDF was a green supplier, and most people would understand the terms used.

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