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ENVIRONMENT - POLITICS

France pushes to make advertising a weapon against climate change

Matthieu Orphelin, co-president of the Ecologie, Démocracie et Solidarité political group, with Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg at the French National Assembly on July 23, 2019.
Matthieu Orphelin, co-president of the Ecologie, Démocracie et Solidarité political group, with Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg at the French National Assembly on July 23, 2019. AFP - LIONEL BONAVENTURE
2 min

Advertising in France may be about to get a lot greener after a bill was tabled in parliament that obliges large companies to use their advertising euros as a force for environmental good.

Advertising

Putting forward the proposed law, the newly created political group Ecologie, Démocracie et Solidarité (EDS) argued that advertising had the potential to be a “powerful lever” in propelling France’s ecological transition.

The bill aims to give advertising a driving role in the transition towards a greener economy, and to iron out the “incompatibilities” between some ads and France’s green ambitions. 

Along with a series of progressive bans on polluting products and services, it suggests the creation of a "responsible advertising" support fund to help retrain professionals working within the advertising sector.

'We need a revolution'

Group co-president Matthieu Orphelin said the world of advertising needed to undergo a major revolution if it was to play any real role in the fight against climate change.

“Let us be the first country to make advertising work towards a serious goal, to put advertising at the service of the (ecological) transition,” Orphelin told FranceInfo radio.

Suggested measures in the bill, which also aims to reduce overconsumption, include giving local politicians more power to regulate advertising, and a total ban on the promotion of “toxic” products.

EDS estimates that, each year, French companies pour 34 billion euros into the country’s marketing industry – something they say should be redirected towards protecting the environment and preserving resources.

The Citizen's Climate Convention, a group of French residents chosen at random to devise solutions to the climate crisis, also suggested tougher advertising standards in a report delivered last month.

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