Interesting one from the ASA a couple of years ago about the advertising claims made by a major international bank.
The issue was around two posters which focused on the bank’s lending “globally to help our clients transition to net zero.” There was also a claim about tree planting and resulting carbon sequestration.
The key learning is that none of this was untrue. The problem was all the lending that the bank does to high carbon emission and fossil fuel industries, and that the claim never mentions that context.
Personally, I think the bank is missing a massive trick.
On the capital markets are instruments called ‘transition bonds’. They are designed to address these high-polluting, high-carbon, ‘hard-to-abate’ industries. The irony is that the projects they are designed to fund will actually make the highest impact on decarbonisation precisely because they are currently so ‘dirty’.
Yet transition bonds, which could be funding such radical change are deeply unpopular with investors – even though they could be doing so much good.
The international bank in question could be helping to popularise transition bonds, educating the investor market about their potential impact, and making that their headline claim.