A European petition to “ban all advertising or sponsorship in favor of fossil fuels”

The Royal Shakespeare Company has drawn the curtain. More exactly, encouraged by environmental activists, the prestigious London theater company had ended the partnership that linked it to aid from the oil group British Petroleum (BP), in 2019.

Greenpeace activists would like the scene to happen elsewhere. The non-governmental organization launched a large-scale petition on Monday, October 4. In administrative language, it is a European citizens’ initiative (ECI). This one “Aims to ban any advertising or sponsorship in favor of fossil fuels” in the member states of the European Union.

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If, within one year at the latest, the initiative reaches one million signatures in at least seven member countries, it can be presented for a public hearing in the European Parliament. Following which the European Commission will decide on the interest or not, according to its members, to transform it into law.

Edina Ifticene, “oil” campaigner for Greenpeace, talks about“A cultural battle”. “In France, we have already started the debate around the impact of advertising on our societies, on our consumption, on emotions. ” The discussions on the issue of sponsorship, they start from further: “If companies related to fossil goods and services continue to be highlighted, we will not move forward. “

Letters to the Louvre and Versailles

In the country, the so-called Evin law has strictly regulated alcohol and tobacco advertising since 1991. Greenpeace is still waiting for its equivalent for companies linked to fossil fuels. The organization is based on a study commissioned in 2020 from the BVA institute: 65% of respondents in the country would welcome such a measure.

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The resilience and climate law, of course, now prohibits “Advertising relating to the marketing or promotion of fossil fuels”, according to the text promulgated in August. Problem, according to Mme Ifticene : “The law prohibits the promotion of products related to hydrocarbons but, in general, the advertisements mainly concern the groups themselves. So we consider that the law does not go far enough at all. “

Banning advertising would also have the merit, according to the authors of the petition, of reducing the risks of “greenwashing”, this advertising process intended to make a company more acceptable under the guise – green, necessarily – of ecology and renewable energies. Take the year 2020: 81% of the advertisements of the Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell focused on greening, while 80% of its investments went to oil and gas, therefore to fossil fuels, according to a study by the Dutch antenna of Greenpeace, published on October 4.

In August, Greenpeace has already made public its letters to the directions of the Louvre Museum, Quai Branly and the Palace of Versailles. Letters denouncing the investments of the TotalEnergies group (ex-Total), through the oil company foundation; an oil company, moreover, sponsor of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France …