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ClientEarth vs BP

Case overview

Date filed 5 December 2019
Current status Filed
Issue BP's misleading fossil fuel advertising campaigns
Summary of the case On 5 December 2019 a specific instance was filed by ClientEarth against BP at the UK NCP. The complaint concerns activities of BP in its advertising campaigns. In January 2019, BP launched a major international advertising campaign under the titles "Keep Advancing" and "Possibilities Everywhere". The complainants argue that BP's advertising campaign gives a false impression of the relative scale of renewable and low-carbon energy in BP's business. The adverts also assert that increases in global primary energy demand are desirable and inevitable for progress and development, while omitting information about the negative impacts of climate change casued by the use of fossil fuels. In addition, the adverts make misleading claims about the lifecycle emissions and environmental impacts of gas, while representing gas as an ideal partner, that performs a backup function, to renewable energy.

The complainants argue that BP's campaign is in conflict with the OECD Guidelines chapters concerning consumer interests and environment. ClientEarth is seeking the UK NCP's good offices to encourage BP to:
- withdraw and cease publication of the identified advertisements and public communications until revised to conform with the OECD Guidelines;
- make a public statement explaining the withdrawal and/or correction of its advertisements;
- ensure that all future advertising and public communications include a warning or a disclaimer that the use of the company's oil and gas products creates GHG emissions that contribute to global climate change; and
- make a public commitment that its future communications on climate and environment-related issues are consistent with the OECD Guidelines and introduce a clear internal policy to this effect.
Developments/Outcome
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Climate change

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point United Kingdom
NCP address London, United Kingdom
NCP website https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/uk-national-contact-point-for-the-organisation-for-economic-co-operation-and-development-guidelines
Other NCPs involved

Complainant

NGO

Company Information

Company responsible BP p.l.c.
Company address 1 St James's Square
SW1Y 4PD London
United Kingdom
Company website http://www.bp.com/home.do
Company in violation
Country of operations United Kingdom
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
4 December 2019 ClientEarth file Complaint filed to UK NCP. download pdf (2690Kb)  

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