Environmental law charity Clientearth has accused BP of “misleading” the public regarding its low-carbon credentials with its multimillion pound advertising campaign.
Yesterday the non-profit group lodged an official complaint under international guidelines regarding the campaign, which is BP’s first in 10 years.
The group are backing up the complaint with demands that all fossil fuel advertising should be banned unless it comes with a “tobacco-style” warning about the dangers to planet and people.
The complaint centres around the fact that the campaigns focus on BP’s renewable energy investments, which represent a small proportion of BP’s business, thus taking focus away from the firm’s key hydrocarbon business.
If the complaint is successful the OECD could force BP to take down the adverts, which are shown both digitally and across billboards, newspapers and television, or issue a corrective statement.
Clientearth climate lawyer Sophie Marjanac said the complaint features a dossier of more than 100 pages of evidence examining BP’s advertising and the impression it creates for ordinary consumers.
“BP is spending millions on an advertising campaign to give the impression that it’s racing to renewables, that its gas is cleaner, and that it is part of the climate solution,” she said.
“This is a smokescreen. While BP’s advertising focuses on clean energy, in reality, more than 96 per cent of the company’s annual capital expenditure is on oil and gas.
“According to its own figures, BP is spending less than four pounds in every hundred on low-carbon investments each year. The rest is fuelling the climate crisis.”
In response, BP said: “We have not seen this complaint, but we strongly reject the suggestion that our advertising is misleading.
“BP has clearly said that the world is on an unsustainable path and must do more to reduce emissions. We support a rapid transition of the world’s energy system.
“BP is of course well-known as a major oil and gas producer. We are also committed to advancing a low carbon future. So one of the purposes of this advertising campaign is to let people know about some of the possibilities we see to do that, for example in wind, solar and electric vehicle charging, as well as in natural gas and advanced fuels.”