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RCC Ruling on Shell "Drive CO2 neutral" 2

Jurisdiction: Reclame Code Commissie (Advertising Code Committee)

Side A: Students (Individual)

Side B: Shell (Corporation)

Core objectives: Whether Shell's advertisement on Shell's truck is misleading because it implies that Shell is CO2 neutral

At the core of the complaint was an advertisement by Shell displaying a Shell truck with an image of a rainforest in the background stating: "I AM CO2 NEUTRAL. ON THE WAY. ARE YOU?"

The complainant alleged that Shell's statement on CO2 neutrality was misleading, referring to Shell's inaction on reducing CO2 emissions and the nature of Shell's business. The complainant referred to the District Court of the Hague's judgment on 26 May 2021 in Milieudefensie et al. v. Royal Dutch Shell plc. to highlight Shell's intentions. The complainant also argued that the rainforest wrongly suggested that Shell helped with the preservation of the rainforest.

Shell, on the other hand, argued that it used carbon offsetting to reach carbon neutrality. Shell also argued that the "I" refered to the displayed truck, and not the company as a whole. Lastly, Shell stated that the rainforest was an example of the CO2 compensation programmes.

The RCC held that the slogan could be interpreted in various ways, and that it was unclear that it only referred to the truck. The RCC considered the slogan to be misleading as the cargo (fossil fuel) and the company itself were not CO2 neutral. Thus, the RCC considered the advertisement to be in breach of article 2 of the Code for Environmental Advertising.

In its ruling, the RCC referred to the reasoning of the RCC's Ruling on Shell "Drive CO2 neutral" 1.
Case documents

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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