Three months after Climate Justice Taranaki (CJT) filed its complaint on the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association (PEPANZ)’s seismic survey website, the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) announced its Decision today.
CJT’s complaint stated that the PEPANZ website did not comply fully with the Advertising Code of Ethics and Code for Environmental Claims. CJT argued that the description of onshore seismic survey on the website was misleading and deceptive as it omitted the common use of explosives in the process.
“We know in Taranaki, some of these explosives have failed to detonate and are left in the ground on people’s land, posing danger and rendering the area un-usable for years. By stating that trucks with vibrating plates are used, and not mentioning the use of multiple explosives with known safety risks and disruptions, we believed the website was deceiving,” said Catherine Cheung, Researcher of CJT.
In terms of offshore seismic survey in search for oil and gas, CJT argued that the website overstated the scientific acceptance of the technology and was inaccurate and unsubstantiated by evidence.
“The website claimed that decades of seismic surveying and research have shown no evidence to suggest that sound from seismic surveys in normal operating circumstances has harmed marine species or ecological communities. But in fact, there have been increasing number of peer-reviewed research and expert evidence which showed that such noise caused or could cause harm to a wide range of marine species, from zooplankton to scallops, lobsters, squids, fish, penguins and marine mammals,” Cheung explained.
During the review of CJT’s complaint, PEPANZ tried to argue that the website was not advertising but designed to be “educational”, and therefore not fell under ASA’s jurisdiction.
“We felt vindicated when ASA ruled that the website did meet the definition of advertisement as it promoted the interest of an advertiser, in this case the petroleum exploration and production industry, and PEPANZ amended its website following our complaint.
This is just a small win for our long-term campaign to keep fossil fuels in the ground and to halt widespread injustice and extreme climate chaos. To further our cause, a Rally for Climate Justice is being organised in Wellington from 26-28th March, outside the annual Petroleum Conference. It is time to stand up for our ‘nuclear free moment’,” Cheung concluded.
The ASA Decision, including CJT’s original complaint and PEPANZ’s response, is on ASA website.
Cartoon source: Clean Ocean Action
Media coverage: Climate Justice group settles advertising complaint against oil and gas body Pepanz, TDN 9 March 2018 (the word ‘wins’ in the original heading was changed to ‘settles’ overnight!)