Advertising watchdog warns Lufthansa against misleading environmental claims

Advertising watchdog warns Lufthansa against misleading environmental claims

Complaint upheld against 'connecting the world' while 'protecting its future' poster  

Lufthansa has been warned by the advertising watchdog not to mislead people in future green assertions over the impact of travelling with the airline.

Upholding a complaint against a poster that proclaimed that Lufthansa Group was ‘connecting the world’ while ‘protecting its future’, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) insisted that “robust substantiation” was required to support its environmental claims.

The advert showed an image of the front of an aircraft in flight, with the underside represented by an image of the earth from space, with the tagline featuring a hyperlink to a ‘’ website. 

The ASA ruled that the poster, seen in June 2022, was in breach of the advertising code, which requires that absolute environmental claims must be supported by a “high level of substantiation”.

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Issuing its ruling this March, the ASA said: “We noted Lufthansa’s comments that the campaign was based on specific steps taken to be more environmentally friendly, including aspirations to become carbon neutral by 2050 and to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030. However, the claim ‘protecting its future’ was not qualified with this information. We considered the claim was likely to be understood by consumers to mean that Lufthansa had already taken significant mitigating steps to ensure that the net environmental impact of their business was not harmful.

“We understood that air travel produced high levels of both CO2 and non-CO2 emissions, which were making a substantial contribution to climate change. We noted the initiatives and targets Lufthansa said they were committed to delivering in pursuit of their stated goal, but many of these initiatives were targeted to deliver results only years or decades into the future. 

“We also understood that there were currently no environmental initiatives or commercially viable technologies in the aviation industry which would substantiate the absolute green claim ‘protecting its future’, as we considered consumers would interpret it. We concluded that, because the basis of the claim had not been made clear and it had not been adequately substantiated, the ad breached the code.

“We told Lufthansa to ensure that the basis of future environmental claims was made clear and did not give a misleading impression of the impact caused by travelling with the airline and that robust substantiation was held to support them.”


Lufthansa argued that any consumer who saw the ad would be able to see, via a link to the website, the environmental impact of air travel and the airline’s actions to mitigate it. The carrier said that the website provided “context and substantiation” for the ad. 

“Due to the qualifying information in the ad, via the website link, consumers would not be misled as to Lufthansa’s environmental impact,” the airline pointed out, adding that it was one of the largest purchasers of sustainable aviation fuel.

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