During COP27 in November 2022, Green MEPs Kim Buyst (Groen) and Séverine de Laveleye (Ecolo) proposed a bill to ban fossil fuel advertising in Belgium. A similar law has been proposed in France, in 2021. The bill comes with a call for research (resolution), looking into the ways advertising can be used as a catalyst speeding up the transition to sustainable energy. Buyst: 'Like the tobacco lobby in the 1990s, fossil producers deploy huge advertising budgets to greenwash their image, and cover up the harmful effects of their activities.' The bill and call for research are part of ongoing discussions.


What's included and what not

The bill does not cover advertising for fossil fuel derived products, such as plastic products or electricity. Advertising for products that run on fossil fuels, such as cars with internal combustion engines, will therefore remain permitted. Sponsorship of cultural or sporting events, in exchange for a mention or the display of a logo, would also remain allowed for the fossil sector. What would be banned, however, is, for example, an advertisement for heating oil.


Responsibility of producers

'We want to hold big fossil producers accountable. Instead of pointing fingers at consumers over the choices they make, producers should be encouraged to offer clean choices and promote what is actually good for people and planet' says Buyst. In addition, Ecolo-Groen believes it is important that consumers have the right information so they can make informed choices. 'The fossil sector uses advertising to mislead public opinion and polish its image,' Buyst explains. 'The billions it boasts of activities that cause a global ecological crisis are used to hang our cities full of panels of bright coral reefs with their logo on them. That is not acceptable to us.'


The bill to ban fossil fuel ads (French and Dutch)

The resolution calling on research on ads as catalyst (French and Dutch)

Media & Press

DeMorgen (in Dutch)

Business AM (in Dutch)

Gocar (in Dutch)