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Oproep aan Stockholm: doe net als Amsterdam, ban fossiele reclame

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Het stadsbestuur van Stockholm moet stoppen met fossiele reclame. Wel wel voor aanvang van de grote internationale klimaatconferentie in de Zweedse hoofdstad volgend jaar. Dat is de boodschap van New Weather Institute Sverge in een opinie die vandaag is gepubliceerd in de toonaangevende Zweedse krant Aftonbladet. Reclame Fossielvrij is medeondertekenaar van de brief.

Het opinieartikel, vertaald uit het Zweeds naar het Engels:

Now politicians have to ban fossil ads

Stockholm now has a unique opportunity to show climate leadership ahead of Sweden’s hosting of the international environmental conference next year – Stockholm + 50. The city’s politicians are set to soon vote on a ban on advertising that destroys the earth’s climate.

While tropical storms, floods, fires and extinction of species are increasing, we are being drowned in advertising for “green” petrol, new SUVs and air travel. With messages such as “climate compensation”, “climate neutral” and “sustainable”, many companies – often the same as those involved in creating the climate crisis – are trying to greenwash their harmful activities and get us to continue buying their products.

Advertising for goods and services that threaten the whole of society and ecosystems is not acceptable. This includes all forms of advertising for companies that produce and sell fossil fuels, cars and air travel.

A wise balance between freedom of trade and the need to protect society from harmful effects has meant that advertising for, for example, tobacco and alcohol is banned or heavily regulated. For fossil advertising, which drives climate change, and also results in emissions of harmful particles that kill more people than smoking, it is free.

Across Europe and the rest of the world, we are now seeing a wave of lavish and misleading advertising and publicity campaigns from fossil fuel companies that are counteracting support for policy measures to achieve climate goals. Legislation and regulations can’t keep up, the authorities and courts processes for stopping misleading advertising take too long.

But there is hope. Brave politicians, business leaders, boards and grassroots are now making efforts to stop fossil advertising. Stockholm now has the opportunity to become a capital that leads. In October, the city’s politicians will take a stand on a ban on advertising that drives the use of fossil fuels in the advertising spaces that the city owns and controls.

Amsterdam has already banned advertising for diesel cars and low-cost flights in the metro as a first step in the goal of banning fossil advertising in public spaces. Discussions are underway in The Hague, as well as in several cities in the UK. In France, a bill on a ban on advertising for fossil fuels is being processed.

If politicians take responsibility and introduce a ban, Stockholm would take the lead for cities that responsibly try to counteract the climate crisis and thus be able to become an international role model.

In June next year, Stockholm will host the environmental conference Stockholm +50 – an international environmental conference that takes place fifty years after the historic Stockholm Conference in 1972. It should be a matter of course for Stockholm’s politicians to ensure that all fossil advertising is completely away from the city until then. 

It would be both irresponsible and foolhardy to risk the fossil fuel companies buying the city’s advertising space so that the delegates are forced to stroll along the fossil fuel propaganda that is meant to convince the public and politicians that the fossil fuel industry is their trusted partner in the climate transition.

Several European environmental organizations are now launching an international campaign to pass local, national and international bans on fossil advertising. The goal is to collect one million signatures for a European ban and thus get the European Commission to consider legislation. In the coming year, the good examples will be highlighted in the broad European debate, as will the bad ones.

We hope and believe that the city of Stockholm will be one of the good examples and that both residents and international delegates will be met by a city without fossil advertising during the international environmental conference in June 2022.

  • Andrew Simms, Co-director New Weather Institute UK
  • Anna Jonsson, Co-founder New Weather Institute Sweden
  • Erika Bjureby Saldes, Oil Campaign Director, Transport & Environment 
  • Femke Sleegers, Founder Reclame Fossielvrij Netherlands
  • Gustaf Lind, Secretary General, WWF Sweden
  • Isadora Wronski, Swedish Director Greenpeace

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