Who: Government of France

What: Ban on fossil fuel (petrol, diesel) advertisements

When: 2021 - ongoing

After some years of campaigning by Résistance à l’Agression Publicitaire (RAP) and their allies on their Stop Climate-killer Ads campaigns, the French government decided to ban fossil fuel advertising in 2021. This ban however only covers ads for fuels like petrol and diesel, not the problematic greenwashing ads the fossil fuel industry uses. The ban can thus be seen as a shadow of the original proposal put forward by the Citizen’s Convention on Climate in France, which aimed to ban ads for products with a strong impact on the environment and specifically a ban on the most polluting vehicles (using more than 4 liter/100 km or emitting more than 95 gram of CO2/km).

It is so far the only national law in the world banning some part of fossil advertising. However, while the ban was supposed to come into force for coal and oil ads on 22nd of August 2022, the Ministry of Ecological Transition has confirmed that the measure did not come into force on that date, stating "it should come into force soon". A ban on gas ads should come into force on the 30th of June 2023. 

Le Monde published a article in July 2023 in which it concludes there is still no law in place. A decree in the State Council still needs to set out the list of energies covered by the ban, as well as the requirements for renewable energies to be eligible for advertising. RAP is disappointed with the delay and the watered-down version, as the initial text from the Citizen's Convention on Climate was way more ambitous. Greenpeace France suggests to include all products that run on fossil fuels in the new law. The Ministry of Ecological Transition was not available for comments, Le Monde stated.


Climate law to ban fossil ads report

The Stop Climate-killer Ads campaign also recognizes this ban as a mid-victory. RAP released a report, together with Greenpeace France and the Climate Action Network, pointing to the major role of advertising in consumption and the collective imagination and calling for a law to ban fossil ads. The report shows that in 2019, advertising and communication investments in the automotive, aviation and fossil fuel sector in France are estimated to be €5.1 billion, showing the extent of influence these brands exert. It also shows 65% of French citizens to be in favor of banning ads for brands that contribute to climate change. Read the report here (in French).