EDF sidesteps ban over "green and British" dispute

LONDON - EDF's climate change campaign has escaped a ban by the Advertising Standards Authority after a large number of people challenged claims that the company is both eco-friendly and British.

The TV, press and poster ads, by Euro RSCG London, attracted 149 complaints from people who felt the ads misleadingly implied EDF Energy was a "green" energy company and a British company.

EDF said it had made efforts to tackle environmental and social issues facing the industry.

It had released documents called Our Climate Commitments in 2007 and Our Social Commitments in 2008 outlining its role in dealing with these issues.

It explained the "Green Britain Day" and "Team Green Britain" initiatives, in association with the London 2012 Olympics, were aimed at encouraging communities in Britain to take collective action to make the country greener.

Clearcast said it was satisfied the idea of the campaign was not to promote EDF as a green company but to promote the campaign initiatives and motivate the public to change their behaviour and attitude toward the environment.

EDF maintained it is one of Britain’s largest energy companies, and although its parent company is French, its businesses are based in and supported by call centres across Britain. All of its businesses operate through companies which are registered in the UK. It also holds UK statutory licences allowing it to operate in the UK.

The ASA noted the ads did not make direct claims that EDF was a "green" company and consumers were likely to understand that it was promoting the importance of working together for a greener Britain.

The watchdog further considered that EDF was registered and based in the UK, and the ads did not explicitly state it was a British company. It believed consumers would not infer that EDF Energy was a British company.

The ASA concluded the ads were unlikely to mislead and deemed no further action was necessary.

In a statement, EDF Energy welcomed the ASA's decision.

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