Ensuring responsible marketing for the green transition

24 November 2022

The role of advertising self-regulation for a sustainable future

EASA’s 30th anniversary was a unique occasion for all the responsible players of the advertising eco-system and members of EASA: advertisers, agencies, media, a digital platform, as well as advertising self-regulatory organisations to gather, together with policymakers, to exchange about initiatives related to the green transition as well as reflect on how this complex issue can be further addressed by working together into the future.

In her welcome message, EASA’s Chairwoman, Charo Fernando Magarzo, sharing figures showcasing the dynamism of the network, highlighted the many unique assets of advertising self-regulation which allow it to be effective, credible and recognised: it is collective, independent and nimble. She said that the Alliance was ready to tackle the future, building on EASA’s 30th Anniversary Declaration for proactive and effective advertising self-regulation and the enhancement of socially responsible advertising in Europe.

EASA’s Chairwoman, Charo Fernando Magarzo

“I see a future where EASA, hand in hand with SROs, all industry actors, policy makers, and all the stakeholders involved, contributes to shaping a better Europe, a better world”

Charo Fernando Magarzo, Chairwoman, EASA

“Advertising self-regulation is definitely part of the equation and part of the solution.”

Lucas Boudet, Director General, EASA

EASA had the immense honour of welcoming Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice. In his keynote address, Mr Reynders expressed the Commission’s ambitions with regard to empowering the consumer in the green transition, outlining the related policy initiatives. He highlighted the pivotal role advertising self-regulation plays in accompanying efforts from the industry towards more trustworthy advertising.

European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders

“Your self-regulatory approach to ensure that companies advertise products and services responsibly whilst staying clear from greenwashing has impressive results. […] Legislation alone cannot solve all our problems. […] Let me reaffirm that I see both regulatory and self-regulatory instruments as complementary to each other.”

Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice

The Commissioner’s perspective was complemented by a video recording by Biljana Borzan, Member of the European Parliament, Rapporteur for the draft directive “Empowering the consumer in green transition”, who highlighted the objectives of this legislative instrument. These messages were a perfect scene setter for the panel discussion on “Further contributing to responsible environmental marketing communications” moderated by Orla Twomey, Vice Chair of EASA and Chief Executive of the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland, the panel featured a great line-up of high-level speakers, from the European Commission’s Marie-Paule Benassi, Head of Unit ‘Consumer Enforcement and Redress’, DG JUST, to the industry with Tamara Daltroff, CEO of the European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA), Mark Howe, Managing Director, EMEA, Ad Industry Relations at Google, and Stephan Loerke, CEO of the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA). The panel also included the heads of two self-regulatory organisations: Stéphane Martin, Director General, Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité (ARPP) in France, and in the UK, Guy Parker, Chief Executive, Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The conversation showcased the actions undertaken to contribute to climate action and promote responsible environmental marketing; it highlighted the complementarity of regulation and self-regulation as well as the need to all work together, supporting and recognising advertising self-regulation to address the challenges raised by the green transition. It also touched upon paths for future action including addressing growing volumes of ads online, influencer marketing, and the shaping of positive environmental behaviours. 

“Consumers want to be greener in their consumption choices. Green claims must not be used as a marketing trick: they have to enable the transition and be adapted to the needs of consumers. […] There is complementarity between law and self-regulation.”

Marie-Paule Benassi, Head of Unit ‘Consumer Enforcement and Redress’, DG JUST, European Commission

“Tackling the environmental “footprint” is important, but the environmental “brainprint” is even more
important: that is the impact of campaigns, advertisement, strategy.”

Tamara Daltroff, CEO, European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA)
Mark Howe, Managing Director at EMEA, Ad Industry Relations at Google, speaking at the panel discussion.

”The fight against climate change is not just a moral stance; it is also good for business to responsibly commit to it. […] Google decided to join EASA because we need the ad ecosystem to work and to be trusted. Good ad self-regulation fosters trust.”

Mark Howe, Managing Director, EMEA, Ad Industry Relations at Google.

Marketing must make sustainable products attractive, desirable to consumers, creating a new market. […] Marketing communication must drive consumer behaviour change.”

Stephan Loerke, CEO of the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA)

“First rules at ARPP for green claims date from 1990! That’s because we had great support from the industry right from the start. […] Young influencers are not resisting environmentally sustainable practices, but they need training to gain knowledge about it.”

Stéphane Martin, Director General, Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité (ARPP)
Guy Parker, Chief Executive of ASA, speaking at the panel.

“Digitalisation implies a new scale, therefore, ad SR had to respond accordingly, with new tools such as A.I. and data-driven tools for monitoring.”

Guy Parker, Chief Executive, Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)
Angela Mills Wade, Vice Chair of EASA, provided the closing remarks of the event.

Last but not least, the session ended with closing remarks by Angela Mills Wade, Vice Chair, of EASA and Executive Director of the European Publishers’ Council, providing insights into the history of the Alliance and thanking all the leaders, individuals, members and partners who contributed to making the Alliance what it is today.

“Everything from the climate crisis, to the ever growing impact of platforms and social networks on society, bringing new forms of advertising, all mean there are many challenges for the advertising industry in the future, and EASA will play a key role in our responses and solutions for what it means to develop responsible advertising of the future”

Angela Mills Wade, Vice Chair, EASA, Executive Director of the European Publishers’ Council

EASA’s 30th Anniversary Celebration
Download EASA’s 30th Anniversary press release here.