Take action against fossil fuel advertising this week

After a long fight, tobacco advertising was banned to reduce the harms caused by smoking. With so much evidence showing the damage caused by burning fossil fuels, why are fossil fuel companies still allowed to advertise?

This week, from Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th October, join in with four days of grassroots action against advertising and sponsorship for fossil fuels, alongside Adfree Cities and other organisations in France, Sweden, the Netherlands and across Europe. This is a chance to stand up against the advertising, including greenwash, that continues to allow fossil fuel firms to operate under a mask of social and environmental responsibility.

You can take part as a group or an individual by organising your own action or getting involved in actions happening in your country or area. Check the tactics guide for ideas and inspiration, including subvertising, film screenings and temporarily repurposing a smaller local billboard for passers-by to get creative: TACTICS GUIDE

Coordinated by a Europe-wide coalition of grassroots campaigns including Adfree Cities and Adblock Bristol, these four days of creative resistance will draw attention to the advertising that continues to promote high carbon products in the context of the unfolding climate emergency. The days of action follow the launch of an exciting European Citizen’s Initiative calling for a ban on fossil ads and sponsorship earlier this week.

The tactics rolling out across Europe also include a call to whistleblow for people working for an advertising agency with fossil fuel clients who may wish to anonymously share information about their work, particularly if there’s evidence of greenwashing or intent to spin climate-damaging practices.

If you have ten minutes to spare on the morning of Friday 9th October, there is a chance to take part in a digital storm targeting some of the major advertising giants that continue to work with highly polluting clients including Shell, BP and Chevron. More details coming soon!


Remember, if you organise or participate, take some photos and shout about it so we continue to raise our collective voice against fossil fuel advertising! Post your action or follow the story using the hashtag #BanFossilAds.

If you email a short report (100 – 200 words) to hello@adfreecities.org.uk, it will be blogged here: https://action-on-fossil-ads.net/

What is a European Citizens Initiative?

The European Citizens’ Initiative against fossil advertising, supported by a coalition of 23 groups including Adfree Cities (1), launched on Monday 4th October as a clarion call to fossil firms, the advertising industry and politicians that advertising for fossil fuels has no place in a world attempting to transition to a low carbon future. An ECI allows European citizens to propose new EU laws to the European Commission if it has enough support – i.e., 1 million verified signatures. This Initiative proposes a legislative act banning all advertising and sponsorship relationships by fossil fuel companies (2). 

Following the ECI launch, as well as several recent actions from environmental groups protesting against greenwash and fossil advertising, the four days of action this weekend are an opportunity for further momentum and collective action to support the ECI.   

(1.) “Ban Fossil Fuel Advertising and Sponsorships” European Citizens’ Initiative details: 

Our European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) aims to achieve a ban on any fossil fuel advertising or sponsorship. Specifically, our ECI calls on the Europe Commission to propose to members states: 

A ban on any promotion or advertising, direct or indirect, as well as any free or promotional distribution, or any sponsorship relationship:

a. For any and all companies and associated sub brands or lobbying organisations that extract, refine, produce, supply, distribute, or sell any fossil fuels 

b. For any companies that promote the use of any fossil fuel powered air, road or maritime vehicles operating from fossil fuels, with the exception of vehicles dedicated to transport services of general economic interest

c. Of any fossil fuel products including oil, fossil gas, and coal

(2.) The organisations that support this European Citizens’ Initiative are:

ActionAid, Adfree Cities, Air Clim, Avaaz, Badvertising, BoMiasto.pl, Ecologistas en Acción, ClientEarth, Europe Beyond Coal, FOCSIV , Food and Water Action Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe, Fundación Renovables, Global Witness, Greenpeace, New Weather Institute Sweden, Plataforma por un Nuevo Modelo Energético, Résistance à l’Agression Publicitaire,  Reclame Fossielvrij, ReCommon, Stop Funding Heat, Social Tipping Point Coalitie, Zero (Associação Sistema Terrestre Sustentável).

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