UK: Oatly ads banned over misleading environmental claims

The British Ombudsman for advertising found claims made in an ad campaign by Oatly were not backed by sufficient evidence.

In a British advertising campaign – in tv, social media and newspapers – the Swedish based company Oatly made various claims about Oatly’s environmental credentials claim such as ‘climate experts say cutting dairy and meat products from our diets is the single biggest lifestyle change we can make to reduce our environmental impact’

The British Ombudsman, Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has launched an investigation into the campaign after receiving 109 complaints from members of the public and the campaign group A Greener World.

Other claims in the ads for the oat drink were: ‘Oatly generates 73% less CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) vs milk, calculated from grower to grocer’ and ‘The dairy and meat industries emit more CO2e than all the world’s planes, trains, cars, boats etc combined’.

The ASA concluded that because the evidence was not sufficient to support the claim as consumers would understand it, the ads were misleading.

Oatly spokesman, Tim Knight, said to BBC:

– It’s clear that we could have been more specific in the way we described some of the scientific data. We’re a science-based company and take pride in being precise, but we could have been clearer.

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