A Fortum logo on the wall of the majority state-owned energy company’s head office in Espoo in March 2022. Fortum has received a reprimand from the consumer ombudsman over a television commercial that gave a misleading impression of the company’s environmental impact. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

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THE CONSUMER OMBUDSMAN of Finland, Katri Väänänen, has reprimanded Fortum over a television ad that created a misleading impression of the company’s environmental impact.

The Äiti Maa (Eng. Mother Earth) commercial was ruled to give a one-sided and excessively positive impression of the environmental effects of the majority state-owned energy company’s operations, according to the Consumer and Competition Authority (KKV).

It employed phrases such as “toward a cleaner world” and “clean energy and recycling” without providing either sound proof to support the claims or any details of the operating principles and climate actions of Fortum. The main message and eco-friendly impression left by the commercial was consequently vague and generic, stated KKV.

“The claim of the commercial is a vague promise of a better future that leaves a positive impression but fails to provide consumers real information to support environmentally friendly choices,” said Väänänen.

KKV on Wednesday reminded in its press release that it is prohibited to present inaccurate or misleading information in marketing. The rule, it underscored, applies also to environmental claims, which must be clear, precise and understandable and backed by proof.

The principles concerning environmental marketing have been laid out by both KKV and the European Commission.

Fortum has committed to complying with the demands of the ombudsman not utilise generalised claims and imaging to create an impression of eco-friendliness without, in the same context, clearly specifying what concrete factors the impression is founded on. The company also pledged not to utilise in marketing any forward-looking claims about the environmental impact of its operations that it cannot substantiate at the time of the campaign.

The marketing campaign that included the misleading commercial has already ended and the commercial has also been removed from the website of Fortum.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT