Public meeting: Taking fuel off the fire
Challenging fossil advertising & greenwash in Devon

Monday 20th March 2023, 7pm – 8.30pm

Adfree Cities, Adblock Exeter and Darren Cullen (Spelling Mistakes Cost Lives) joined a panel event to discuss how councils can control high carbon advertising, and promote positive, creative alternatives for more vibrant public spaces.

Devon County Council declared a climate emergency in 2019, and set an ambitious target of Net Zero by 2030. Devon Climate Emergency promises resilient and thriving communities and ecologies. However, one major driver of carbon and consumption in cities has not been addressed: advertising.

Advertising, including on billboards, print, TV and online, is a powerful cultural force that shapes how we live our lives. Currently, advertising acts to promote ill health and harm to our environment. 

Advertising in the UK was responsible for 208 million tonnes of CO2 in 2022 – 32% of the emissions of every single person in this country. This is due to the uplift in sales generated by advertising, particularly for the most polluting products such as flights and cars. 

Councils can introduce Ethical & Low Carbon Advertising Policies to protect residents from harmful advertising and meet public health, air pollution and net zero goals. Local authorities in Norwich, North Somerset and Liverpool have all passed motions to prohibit advertising and sponsorships that promote ‘high carbon’ products such as airlines, non-electric cars and fossil fuel companies.

Devon CC’s ambition for a sustainable and healthy county is laudable, and provides leadership by being ahead of their decarbonisation schedule. However, the council also has the opportunity to align its behaviour change, public health and air pollution goals with its advertising and sponsorship policy.

Join Adfree Cities and Adblock Exeter to discuss how councils can control high carbon advertising, and promote positive, creative alternatives for more vibrant public spaces. 

Speakers:

  • Darren Cullen (Spelling Mistakes Cost Lives) is a satirical artist, illustrator and writer, born in Leeds to Irish immigrant parents and currently based in London. Cullen uses the language of advertising to highlight the empty promises of consumerism and greenwashing, especially through his mobile counter-greenwash showroom, the ‘Hell Bus’.
  • Charlotte Gage, Network Director, Adfree Cities
  • Andrea Gallagher, Adblock Exeter
  • Emma De Saram, Fossil Free Research & Shell Out Exeter
  • James Dyke, Associate Professor in Earth System Science, and Assistant Director of the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter