20 April 2022
Yarra City has become the first Council in Australia to move to restrict the promotion of fossil fuels on council-run property.
It unanimously passed a Notice of Motion which stated:
“1. That Yarra Council not support the advertising of companies involved in the production or supply of fossil fuels on council property, consistent with its Climate Emergency Plan.
2. That Council call for an officer report on the implications of not permitting advertising for companies involved in the production or supply of fossil fuels on council property, and a process for phasing this in.
3. That this report be presented to Council no later than the July 12th Council Meeting.”
Mayor of Yarra Sophie Wade said:
“At this week’s council meeting, Yarra City Council unanimously passed a motion declaring that the Council does not support the advertising of companies involved in the production or supply of fossil fuels on Council property.
This decision further demonstrates Yarra’s commitment to the climate emergency and the objectives of its Climate Emergency Plan, which recognises the need for urgent action by all levels of government.
Fundamental to Yarra’s Climate Emergency Plan is the phasing out of fossil fuels and a move towards a renewable energy future.”
A report outlining the implications of this decision to be presented to Council by 12 July.”
The Motion is part of a Fossil Ad Ban campaign by advertising industry group, Comms Declare. It aims to reduce demand for high emission products and stop greenwashing by corporations whose main business is the extraction or sale of coal, oil and gas.
Comms Declare Founder, Belinda Noble said, “We applaud Yarra City Council for joining cities and countries around the world to stop the promotion of greenhouse gas pollution as part of its net zero commitment.
“Air pollution from fossil fuels takes 8.7 million lives prematurely each year – around the same as tobacco.
“Australia was a world leader in restricting cigarette advertising for the public good, and we should be a leader when it comes to stopping the promotion of high emissions products like coal, oil and gas.
”Advertising coal, oil and gas serves no purpose other than to increase demand for the products that are driving climate change and harming our community.
“Fossil fuel advertisements and sponsorships mislead consumers about the environmental attributes of dangerous and toxic products, and delays the shift in social attitudes required to urgently transition to cleaner energy.”
The importance of advertising and sponsorships by fossil fuel companies in preventing climate action was highlighted in the latest IPCC report.
It singled out Australia as being uniquely compromised by fossil fuel companies saying, “Fossil fuel industries have been important agenda-setters in many countries, including… Australia.” and “Fossil fuel industries have unique access to mainstream media via advertisements, shaping narratives of media reports, and exerting political influence in countries like Australia.”
Restrictions on advertising fossil fuel and high carbon products have been imposed by France, Amsterdam, and three UK Councils; Liverpool, Norwich and North Somerset.
Similar restrictions are being debated in the EU, U.S, Germany, Sweden and Canada.
The Guardian and British Medical Journal have also stopped accepting fossil fuel advertising.