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A poster for an almond drink has been banned for making the “misleading” environmental claim that the product is “good for the planet”.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) announced last month that it is to shine a “greater regulatory spotlight” on environmental claims.
The poster for Alpro almond, oat and plain products, seen on the side of a bus last October, read: “Next stop. Your recipe to a healthier planet!” and “Good for the planet, Good for you!”.
A complainant, who believes commercial almond farming causes environmental damage, challenged whether the claim “Good for the planet” was misleading and could be substantiated.
Alpro said consumers would understand that the claims “Recipe for a healthier planet” and “Good for the planet” meant that plant-based products had a lower environmental impact than alternative dairy-based products.
Although almonds need more water than soy or oats, the impact on land use and greenhouse gas emissions remains very small, and the environmental impact of almond drinks is significantly lower than that of cows’ milk, it told the ASA.
The firm added that its almonds are grown in full accordance with the EU policy to protect bees and pollinators, which is one of the strictest regulatory systems in the world concerning the approval of pesticides.
The ASA said it understands that the almonds used by Alpro are not sourced from areas of the world where almond production could have a negative environmental impact.
But it said advertising rules require that the basis of environmental claims must be clear and that unqualified claims can mislead if they omit significant information.
The ASA said: “We acknowledged that Alpro had provided analysis in order to demonstrate the environmental impact of two of the three featured products across their lifecycle. We noted that the analysis provided in relation to Alpro’s oat drink did not assess the environmental impact of that product’s entire lifecycle, including, for example, transport, packaging and retail.
“However, because we considered it was not clear what the basis of the claim ‘Good for the planet’ was, we concluded the ad was misleading and breached the Code.”
It ruled that the ad must not appear again in the form complained about, adding: “We told Alpro to ensure that the basis of environmental claims was clear.”