British Gas rapped over 'misleading' green claimsASA says ad broke five rules

30 January 2008

A blue flame from a gas hob

Although there is no 'green gas', you can still switch your energy supplier to a green tariff

A British Gas television ad has been pulled for containing misleading green energy claims.

In the advert, the energy firm's ‘greenest’ dual fuel package is described as ‘zero carbon’. But viewers challenged the ‘zero carbon’ claim. 

In a ruling released today, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the claim and the associated images would be likely to be interpreted to mean that the energy supplied was carbon-free or produced no carbon emissions.

British Gas TV ad

It found the TV commercial breached five advertising rules including those on environmental claims and misleading advertising. It told British Gas not to repeat the commercial in its current form.

Small print in the TV advert explained the zero-carbon claim, saying it ‘relates to offsetting schemes’.

But the ASA said this phrase contradicted the overall impression of the commercial, making it potentially misleading.

British Gas said it disagreed with the ASA's decision. A spokesman said: ‘The name "zero carbon" relates to the net impact of the supply of gas and electricity through the tariff being zero- carbon emissions and the ad clearly states that this is achieved through off-setting schemes.

‘It is disappointing, therefore, that the ASA has underestimated how commonly used and understood the term zero carbon is.’