Every now and then, Ryanair do something to melt people. There was changing the cabin bag policy so you now have to pay to be ‘priority’ to get anything bigger than a lunch bag on board. Then, they added the small text to “check-in 60 days before your flight for peace of mind” saying *if you pay extra, else, you can wait til 48 hours before. And let’s not forget the time they tried to charge for toilets. Bloons.
But now, to put the icing on the cake – oh, that’ll be extra, sorry. They’ve been called out for Greenwashing. Honestly, like.
You’ve probably heard or seen the ads, where Ryanair claim to have ” the lowest carbon emissions of any major airline”, and the tagline of “Europe’s lowest fares, lowest emissions airline”. Yeah, I was suspicious too. I thought, “hmm, that’s not like Ryanair to actually have something GOOD to say? but, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe all those extra charges paid for some better petrol or something.
But, nope. I was wrong. Well, I was wrong to believe it, but I was right to be suspicious. Because, well, let’s face it, I’m never wrong. Pffft.
But, today came the news that
the spoil-sports our dear friends, the ASA, banned the ads because they weren’t actually accurate or provable. Basically, they were lies.
The story kinda changes depending on which news source you use. Shock. The first one I read made it sound like Ryanair were actually telling the truth, because they compared their emissions to “four other large European airlines”. Whereas, the good old Guardian added a lil extra detail, that they “didn’t include some well-known airlines”.
So, I’m going to do y’all a favour and be the dependable news source that you know I am. First, let’s clarify a few things:
1. “Lowest carbon emissions of any major airline” means “lower than a couple”
2. “Major airline” isn’t actually like a specific or agreed term. I mean, they probably ALL think they’re pretty major. And totally awesome.
3. “Low CO2” means, “lower than average”
4. These CO2 emissions weren’t measured by the amount of CO2 emitted, but the “CO2 emissions per passenger, per kilometre“. Ryanair have less CO2 emissions per passenger than other airlines, because they have more passengers than other airlines. Hence why there’s no legroom.
5. “Europe’s lowest fares, lowest emissions airline” AKA: “One of the EU’s Top 10 Carbon Emitters”
6. “The single most important thing any consumer can do to halve their carbon footprint is switch to Ryanair.” Well, *flexes hands*, considering aviation (planes) account for 12% of transport CO2 emissions, while road accounts for 74%, people would be A LOT BETTER walking, cycling, scooting, using public transport, sharing lifts or just driving less. Also bearing in mind that most people drive several times a day, and don’t FLY several times a day, what do you think would make more of a difference?
So, Ryanair were called out and the ads are banned now. BUT, a lot of the damage is done. To the planet, I mean. I haven’t heard those ads in a while, but if I hadn’t have checked the news and saw that they were banned for being not true, I would’ve kept thinking they were true.
That’s the thing with Greenwashing. It doesn’t matter if the ad’s banned or changed, people will just think that the replacement ads are the latest ad campaign. Some people will always remember the claims that were made, or remember at least, that at some time, Ryanair (or any of the other companies that use people’s concern for the death of the planet and humanity to spread propaganda and increase sales) released ads telling everyone that they were green.
Brands spend a hell of a lot of time and money creating advertising campaigns which promote lies, which then get banned and need either changed or replaced, then spend more time and money replacing them and doing PR recovery by making a tiny change like “oh, we’re going to reduce 13% of our plastic use by 2050” (at which stage we’ll be lucky if the Earth is still here). Instead of just, I don’t know, ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY.
So yeah, to sum: Organisations are wrecking the planet and most don’t care. Of the few that actually DO make changes to be more eco-friendly, most are probably lying 🙂 GREAT.
Happy Wednesday, folks.
*Here’s my source for the stats, because, well, what I say actually CAN be proven. And isn’t a lie.