Members of The Green Party of England and Wales have called for the end of advertising for “high carbon” goods and services, after a motion was passed at Green Party conference, co-proposed by Bristol Green Party councillor and MP candidate Carla Denyer.
The new policy is designed to “bring advertising rules into the 21st century” by phasing out adverts for goods and services which are harmful to the climate, such as SUVs and long haul flights.
The motion noted that there are already many restrictions on advertising on products which are socially and physically harmful, such as tobacco which was banned from being advertised and promoted in the UK since 2003.
A study by BMJ journal Tobacco Control found that the ban “significantly reduced exposure to pro-tobacco marketing influences” and their conclusions were found to “support the effectiveness of comprehensive bans on advertising”.
In August 2020, the ‘Badvertising’ campaign called for adverts for SUVs to face a similar ban, noting that such vehicles make up more than 40% of new cars now sold in the UK, while fully electric vehicles count for less than 2%.
The motion was backed by Bristol City Councillor Carla Denyer, who said:
“In a time of climate emergency, how can it be right that we are bombarded by endless adverts demanding we fly more, drive bigger cars and burn more fossil fuels?”
“We need to learn from the campaign against tobacco advertising. It used to be normal for children to see cigarette billboards on their route to school. After decades of campaigning, a new normal has been established and levels of smoking have fallen.”
“We can do the same for products which are trashing our planet. Ending advertising for high carbon goods and services would be a simple and socially beneficial way to reduce UK carbon emissions.”
Green Party peer Natalie Bennett said:
“After the year we’ve had, we’ve learned what matters most to us, and it’s not the things screaming at us from billboards, posters, radio jingles and television trailers.
“This common sense policy to curb the influence of the biggest polluters will spark a long overdue conversation about the role of advertising in our lives.”
(Photo credit: Adfree Cities)