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Emission claims could backfire on Ryanair after being banned by advertising watchdog

Posted by Warwick Business School at 06 February 2020, 21:43 CET |
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Dr Frederik Dahlmann, associate professor of sustainability at Warwick Business School, said:

"The decision by the UK advertising watchdog to ban Ryanair's claims about its carbon emissions highlights the increasingly competitive nature of companies engaging with sustainability challenges.

"No longer a fringe concern, the need to address important environmental and social challenges is moving into the boardrooms and mainstream of business decision making.

"However, the desire to demonstrate awareness and leadership can backfire if companies fail to back up their claims. Greenwash will make consumers become even more cynical about companies' true intentions to address the critical issues of our time.

"Notwithstanding that flying is significantly contributing to climate change, making claims about relative performance is fraught with lots of assumptions and complex calculations.

"While Ryanair's claims may have been originally based on some statistical evidence, the reality is that broad, generalised claims about being the "lowest carbon emissions of any major airline" in Europe downplays the complexity of comparing different airlines.

"More importantly, rather than seeking to lone leadership, the aviation industry needs intensive collaboration between all airlines to truly reduce its carbon footprint."

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