Rainbows, happy cows and climate killing fossil fuels

Global Climate Strike in Athens, Greece. © Constantinos Stathias / Greenpeace

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Rainbows, happy cows on green fields, amazing wildlife, flowers, kids jumping, … is this the first shot of a cheesy movie? Nope! This is the world that the fossil fuel industry is selling through glossy posters and billboards. And this is something you can see just walking around your town. This is what volunteers and activists from Greenpeace and other organizations have found in 40 European cities in the last months.

Pictures of advertising panels taken by Greenpeace volunteers across Europe. These advertising panels are from Vattenfall, Total Energies, Fortrum.
Pictures of advertising panels taken by Greenpeace volunteers across Europe. These advertising panels are from Vattenfall, Total Energies, Fortrum. Fossil fuel companies use mega marketing budgets to mess with our minds and push their lies into public spaces. © Greenpeace

Ban Fossil Ads: putting greenwashing on the map

Using the Greenpeace interactive #BanFossilAds map, these volunteers and activists have documented more than 100 examples of fossil fuels ads and sponsorships and the different manipulative greenwashing strategies that companies like Shell, Total or Eni use to present themselves as green and socially responsible actors.

Greenpeace #BanFossilAds map.
Use the Greenpeace #BanFossilAds map to expose fossil fuel advertising and sponsorships used by oil, gas and coal companies to deny, deceive and delay real climate action. © Greenpeace

With this tool, you can upload photos, the location, information about the fossil fuel companies and their products. The objective is to unveil how large the tentacles of fossil fuel companies are and how deep their influence runs.

Piaggio Foundation sponsoring the Florence Biennale, Acea (Italian energy company) and Lexus sponsoring Rome’s Cinema Festival, Plenoil at the Soho theater from Malaga or Endesa (Spanish energy company) sponsoring theatre and cultural events in Madrid, are only some examples.

Fossil fuel sponsorships in Europe. Italy, Spain. Museums, cultural events, arts institutions.
The lies of the fossil fuel industry also creep into places where we go to expand our minds: universities, science institutions and cultural ones. They don’t belong there. © Greenpeace

This is not random. It responds to a well thought out strategy fossil fuel companies use to buy the social acceptance they need to continue influencing our lives and politics with the ultimate goal of blocking the climate action we need to fight the climate crisis.

What needs to happen

That’s why, as Don’t Look Up director Adam McKay expressed after launching the movie that has bolstered the public conversation around climate change and highlighted the role of companies, media and governments in the climate crisis, “we need to make fossil fuel advertising illegal the same way we did with cigarettes”.

In order to keep profiting from environmental destruction, the fossil fuel industry needs us to believe in their good will. So let’s keep documenting and exposing their misleading claims with the #BanFossilAds map. The map comes with a toolkit that Greenpeace is sharing with the public, making it open and available for anybody to use.

If you haven’t done it yet, sign and share the European Citizens’ Initiative to legally ban fossil ads that over 30 nonprofit organizations and grassroots groups are supporting. We need to be 1 million to break free from the social and political influence of the fossil fuel industry for good!

Silvia Diaz is Communications and Engagement Lead with the Greenpeace Fossil Free Revolution team


Global Climate Strike in Athens, Greece. © Constantinos Stathias / Greenpeace

Ban fossil fuel advertising and sponsorships

Tell the EU to shut down fossil fuel propaganda.

Take action

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