Shell faces ASA investigation over 'carbon neutral' claims

Fuel giant claimed in ad that customers could 'drive carbon neutral' if they shopped at Shell.

Shell: radio ad received 17 complaints (Copyright: Shell)
Shell: radio ad received 17 complaints (Copyright: Shell)

The Advertising Standards Authority has launched an investigation into claims made by Shell that customers can "drive carbon neutral" because it has invested in carbon-offsetting schemes. 

The ad watchdog confirmed that it has received 17 complaints from the public about a radio ad that made the claim and said it had launched a probe.

In October 2019, Shell announced that it had become "the first retailer to offset the carbon dioxide emissions from customers’ fuel purchases at its UK service stations" made using its Shell Go+ app or card.

The oil and gas giant said it would offset emissions by purchasing carbon credits generated from projects in the UK and internationally that protect and regenerate forests.

Carbon offsetting allows a company to make environmental improvements in areas not connected to their business to help balance out their impact. It is a controversial issue as critics argue that businesses should focus on driving meaningful change.

A spokesperson at the ASA said: "We’ve launched a formal investigation into whether the radio ad clearly discloses enough information in relation to this offer. We’ll publish our findings in due course."

Shell spokesman said: "Prior to launching this to our customers, we did a huge amount of work and due diligence on our Drive Carbon Neutral offer and we are happy to speak to the ASA to answer their questions."

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