French bank accused of 'greenwash' campaign

LONDON - Environmental lobbyists have attacked an ad campaign by French banking giant Credit Agricole and fronted by actor Sir Sean Connery, accusing it of 'greenwash'.

The campaign attempted to highlight the financial services company's green credentials, using the strapline 'It's time for green banking'.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, pressure group Friends of the Earth described the campaign as "the worst example of greenwash" it had ever seen.

The environmental lobby group said it is compiling a report on all the unsustainable activities of the bank, including its backing of oil projects in Ghana and Uganda. The report will be sent to France's national advertising authority, the ARPP.

However, a spokesman for the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it was yet to receive any complaints about the Credit Agricole campaign.

The TV, print and online campaign by ad agency Aubert Storch Associés Partenaires (ASAP), aimed to develop the brand in a number of countries across Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Ads first aired from 23 November to 19 December last year, with a second burst breaking on 18 January.

Crédit Agricole operates more than 8,000 bank branches in France, and counts 28% of all French households among its customers.