Good Energy advert banned for 'no carbon dioxide' claim

The Advertising Standards Authority says the advert must not appear again

Josie Clarke
Wednesday 28 February 2018 01:08
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ASA said Good Energy’s claim would be interpreted to relate to the amount of CO2 emitted throughout the full life cycle of all sources of its electricity
ASA said Good Energy’s claim would be interpreted to relate to the amount of CO2 emitted throughout the full life cycle of all sources of its electricity

An advert for one of Britain’s largest renewable energy suppliers has been banned for claiming the electricity it supplies emits no carbon dioxide.

Good Energy’s website said in September: “An average unit of electricity in the UK (a kilowatt hour or kWh) results in 360g of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and 0.007g of radioactive waste.

“But the electricity we supply contains 0g of CO2 and no radioactive waste. This will never change.”

A reader, who believed that Good Energy used biomass energy, which they understood produced more CO2 than coal when burnt, complained that the company’s claim was misleading.

Good Energy, which supplies around 200,000 customers, gave the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) information from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) saying biomass fuels were considered a form of renewable energy, and that renewable energy sources produced 0g/kWh of CO2 compared with coal which produced 925g/kWh.

The ASA said consumers would understand Good Energy’s claim to mean that no CO2 was emitted in generating the electricity and supplying it to consumers, regardless of whether the source was a form of renewable energy.

It noted that advertising rules required environmental claims to be based on the full life cycle of the product, which in Good Energy’s case included import or export, transport of the raw material to processing plants, crushing and processing to produce biofuel and transport of the biofuel.

The ASA said: “We considered even if those emissions were offset, this did not mean no CO2 was emitted.

“Because we considered the claim would be interpreted to relate to the amount of CO2 emitted throughout the full life cycle of all sources of Good Energy’s electricity, we concluded the claim that the energy supplied by Good Energy contained 0g of CO2 had not been substantiated and therefore was misleading.”

It ruled that the ad must not appear again, adding: “We told Good Energy not to claim that the electricity they supplied contained 0g of CO2 unless they held evidence that no CO2 was emitted throughout the entire life cycle of the product.”

PA

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