Who: Municipality of Zwolle, The Netherlands

What: City board to ban fossil ads by local law, as first municipality in the world.

When: May 2023

Zwolle city council has passed a motion to ban fossil advertising via the local ordinance. This makes Zwolle the 1st Dutch municipality - and possibly even the 1st worldwide - to ban fossil advertising via a local law. The council will work on drafting the ordinance in the coming weeks.

Joey Boon, councillor for GroenLinks (Green party) and author of the motion: "This fits in with the municipality's climate goals and it is a clear signal to the Netherlands. If it is up to GroenLinks, the municipality will soon earn no more money from fossil advertising." The motion was filed with support from the Labour Party (PvdA), Volt, the Animal Party (PvdD), Socialist Party (SP) and ChristenUnie, by which a majority was met.


Unique motion

According to Dutch campaign group Advertising Fossil Free, banning fossil ads via the local ordinance is also the most effective way for municipalities. Campaigner Rosanne Rootert: "Municipalities can draw up local laws, such as the 'APV'. A ban on fossil advertising can be part of these local ordinances. This has an immediate effect: advertising operators will have to comply with the law like everyone else."


Operators generally unwilling

Previous motions in other Dutch municipalities often led to outcomes that go via private law, for instance a ban on fossil ads in new contracts. The downside of this is that many of the contracts with advertising operators run for a long time, sometimes more than 10 years. Fossil advertisements will still be allowed and seen in that time. In Utrecht, where a contract recently expired, it has already been included in the new tender.

Other municipalities choose to enter into talks with operators. These generally turn out to be unwilling. Only in Amsterdam did such a conversation lead to a covenant with an advertising operator in the metro stops. There, certain fossil advertisements can now no longer be seen.