Mar 17, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Environmental groups urge FTC to probe Chevron ad claims about clean energy

Chevron.
Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Environmental groups have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission alleging Chevron's ads mislead consumers by painting an inaccurate picture of the oil giant's clean energy activities.

Why it matters: The groups — Greenpeace, Earthworks and Global Witness — say it's the first such climate complaint filed against an oil company under the FTC's "Green Guides."

Driving the news: The filing alleges Chevron's ad and marketing suggest its clean energy efforts are a significant proportion of its overall business.

  • Yet fossil fuels remain the dominant business lines for Chevron and other oil majors despite growing investments in areas like renewables, EV charging and carbon capture.
  • Julieta Biegner of Global Witness said Chevron is wooing consumers who care about the climate and racial justice while "doubling down on climate-wrecking fossil fuels that pollute our communities."
  • It asks the FTC to force Chevron to remove disputed ads and circulate "corrective" statements.

The other side: Chevron called the allegations "frivolous" and said, "we engage in honest conversations about the energy transition."

"We believe the future of energy is lower carbon and are working to help the world achieve that goal," Chevron said.

What we're watching: The outcome of this case — and other potential FTC filings.

  • Dan Jaffe of the Association of National Advertisers said similar complaints about corporate climate ads could be in the offing.
  • That's because of the high priority the Biden administration has placed on the topic and "all the issues that may flow from that and any advertising that may impact that," he said.

Go deeper: Chevron ‘Greenwashing’ Targeted in Complaint Filed With FTC (Bloomberg)

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