It’s not easy being green: Airline among companies targeted by UK regulators for purchasing “worthless” carbon credits

hand putting a band aid on smoke stack. Greenwashing malpractice concept
Edited by Travel Weekly


    British Airways has been named as one of the companies purchasing “worthless” carbon credits, according to a government watchdog.

    The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says it’s aware of numerous companies making false claims about how green their operations are due to purchasing carbon offsets not fit for purpose.

    “Some organisations are making carbon-neutral and net zero claims that are entirely unqualified,” said Matt Wilson, media and public affairs manager at the Advertising Standards Authority.

    These claims were “likely to breach existing rules” and the ASA said it was “taking proactive action immediately to crack down on such claims”, Wilson said in a statement.

    The comments from the ASA come just a week after an investigation published in the Science journal which found a vast majority of a potential 89 million carbon offsets coming from forest protection projects did not represent any reduction in real emissions.

    “There has been a suspicion that these carbon credits lead to greenwashing,” Andreas Kontoleon, the study’s senior author and a professor of environmental economics and public policy at the University of Cambridge, told media.

    “We now have robust and credible evidence that offset programs have deficiencies.”

    The valueless credits were reported to have been purchased by companies such as TotalEnergies, British Airways and Nespresso of Nestlé.

    Earlier this year, the same organisation banned newspaper, TV and outdoor adverts from Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, Unilever, and Hyundai Motor, for making misleading claims about how green their operations were.

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