Acting on complaints by the Global Action in the Interest of Animals (GAIA), the ASA looked into an ad touting fur for its eco-friendly attributes.
The magazine campaign, created by the European Fur Breeders' Association (EFBA) , listed a number of reasons "Why it's eco-friendly to wear fur" including points such as “Fur lasts a lifetime," "No waste," "Food Chain Recycling,” "Helps conservation," and "Reduced CO2 gas emissions.”
In small print the ad claimed that fur is "naturally long-lasting," can be "recycled easily and biodegrades," and is "one of the most ecologically balanced systems in agriculture.”
Based on a study conducted on their behalf by CE Delft showing the environmental impact of mink farming compared with the production of other clothing, GAIA challenged whether the claim about the eco-friendliness of fur was misleading and could be substantiated.
They also challenged the claim that "Reduced CO2 gas emissions; No transportation needed, fur animals are born, raised and die on the farm" was misleading because it did not take into account other transportation factors such as delivering food to the farm and the transportation of pelts.
The ASA judged that the CO2 claim was acceptable since it wasn’t an absolute claim, but that the claim that it's eco-friendly to wear fur was misleading.
Noted the ASA in their decision:
Although we noted that the ad included information setting out the environmental benefits of wearing fur, which were intended to form the basis for the headline claim "it's eco-friendly to wear fur", because we considered that that headline claim would be understood as an absolute environmental claim, and because we did not consider that we had seen sufficient evidence that the product would cause no environmental damage, taking account of the full life cycle of the product from manufacture to disposal, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.
The ad will not be allowed to appear again in its current form.