Car industry ignores environmental labelling rules in advertising

The car industry is continuing to ignore the requirement to display environmental information in its advertising in Sweden, according to a report by Swedish Radio.

After investigating 230 advertisements for new cars in major Swedish newspapers, SR’s Ekot programme revealed that 21 per cent of ads carried no environmental labelling at all, while only twelve per cent were correctly labelled.

According to both an EU directive and Swedish law, advertisements for new cars must indicate the environmental class of the vehicle, its fuel consumption and its level of carbon dioxide emissions.

The text must be clear and easy to read. But the directive, which was introduced in the 1990s, has long been ignored, reckons the Swedish Consumer Agency (Konsumentverket).

In more than one in three ads, the environmental information is barely readable, with letters a millimetre high.

Mercedes Benz was deemed to be the worst of the advertisers, with 16 ads which did not meet required standards. Of these, twelve had no information at all about the cars’ environmental impact.

“I think it’s regrettable and poor on our part,” said Magnus Fager, the company’s brand manager in Sweden.

“We shall do everything possible to follow the existing regulations,” he told Ekot.

Bertil Molldén at the car industry association Bil Sweden admitted that environmental labelling on ads is currently not good enough.

“We know that these rules exist and we can only apologise and hold our hands up,” he said.