Climate activists have attacked over 400 billboards across Europe to draw attention to, what they claim, is misleading advertising by two of the world’s biggest carmakers – Toyota and BMW.
Activists from the Subvertisers’ International, Brandalism and Extinction Rebellion painted over the outdoor billboards in Belgium, France, Germany and the UK, singling out the two brands for apparently fabricating their climate credentials.
All imagery courtesy of Brandalism
The protests just so happen to coincide with the European Motor Show in Brussels that opened on Saturday. The event, now in its 100th year, attracts over 600,000 visitors over its eight days.
Last year, Toyota was reportedly ranked the 10th worst company in the world by InfluenceMap for its anti-climate lobbying, the worst ranking for any car manufacturer. German marque BMW ranked 16th overall.
Despite the two brands advertising their electric vehicle range, according to the activist groups, EVs represent just 0.2 per cent of total sales.
According to Brandalism’s website, the activists are “using the action to demand more robust policy from governments to regulate the advertisement of environmentally harmful products and prevent misleading green claims from big polluters”.
Brandalism spokesperson Tona Merriman said: “Toyota have pushed their ‘Beyond Zero’ sustainability adverts whilst lobbying governments around the world to weaken air quality plans and threatening legal action to protect their profits over a liveable climate. Their adverts are duplicitous.”
The activists’ are also calling for an immediate ban on the advertising of the most polluting vehicles such as SUVs and are calling for a tobacco-style legislation to end adverts for high carbon products.
Merriman added: “Toyota and BMW use slick marketing campaigns to promote over-sized SUV models that clog up urban neighbourhoods. Electric SUVs are no solution – they’re too big for most parking spaces and their tall bumper size and excessive weight present an increased risk to pedestrians, especially children, involved in road collisions.”
In the UK, government regulators will ban the sale of all electric and diesel powered vehicles from 2030 and all hybrid models from 2035.
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