A Parliament proposal to encourage cuts in CO2 emissions from new vehicles by introducing “tobacco-style” environmental warnings in car advertisements has caused outrage among Europe’s media corporations, who say such measures could cause serious harm to their business.
A European Parliament report on cutting carbon dioxide emissions from cars, adopted on 24 October, calls on the Commission to introduce mandatory minimum requirements for the display of information relating to the fuel economy (l/100 km) and CO2 emissions (g/km) of new cars.
“A minimum of 20%” of the space devoted to the promotion of new cars through advertising, marketing and promotional literature or in showroom displays should be dedicated to this type of information, and should be displayed “in a conspicuous, user-friendly and possibly colour-coded format, for the purposes of comparison”, states the report.
The Commission had itself proposed that an existing directive on fuel efficiency labeling (1999/94/EC) be amended, to create a range of “energy efficiency classes”, with indications about the car’s annual running costs, fuel consumption and possible vehicle CO2 tax levels, in order to raise consumer awareness.
It had also invited car manufacturers to sign up to a voluntary EU-wide code of good practice on car marketing and advertising, aimed at shifting some of the focus away from vehicle performance towards more sustainable consumption patterns.
But the EP’s report – which does not bind the Commission – says it has “no confidence in the likely effectiveness of the proposed voluntary agreement” and calls for a binding code, “which outlaws false green claims” and includes a ‘green star’ ranking system that takes into account all aspects of environmental performance, including fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, but also emissions of other pollutants, the car’s noise, space efficiency and other factors that can have an impact including weight, aerodynamics and environmental driving aids.
However, media corporations immediately rejected Parliament’s demand, saying it neglected existing legislation on media and advertising and would serve only to harm Europe’s audiovisual sector.