Various action groups have participated in the action week regarding the European Citizens’ Initiative against Fossil Advertising and Sponsorship. These actions took place mostly last week but continue this week and until the deadline of October 4.
Cover up actions
Fossil Free Advertising organized ‘cover-up’ actions in 7 different cities (Leiden, Amersfoort, Nijmegen, The Hague, Delft, Castricum, and Leeuwarden) with volunteers from local groups. Local Extinction Rebellion and Climate Operation (from Milieudefensie) groups participated, as did volunteers active in local Climate Coalitions, and new individuals who were interested in the action call.
Action coordinator Charlotte from Fossil Free Advertising considers the action a success: “All these actions directly lead to dozens of signatures, and even more through the distributed stickers and people talking about it. You also notice that people often think for the first time about the fact that public space can be bought by large companies to encourage (over)consumption. We find this especially concerning for very climate-damaging products and advertisements from fossil fuel companies because they directly contribute to worsening the climate crisis. We often draw the comparison with smoking: everyone can choose whether they want to smoke, but because it is harmful, it can no longer be actively promoted.”
Local activist groups also carried out ‘adbusting’ actions in different cities (at the time of writing, Amsterdam and Utrecht), replacing advertisements in public spaces with fake KLM ads. With these actions, the activists raised questions about recent advertising by the airline. For example, one artwork says, “Fly responsibly? KLM has actually been taken to court for misleading advertising” (artwork by Michelle Tylicki). Another activist adds, “Big polluters like KLM can advertise freely in our public spaces and greenwash their image. However, KLM has recently been taken to court by Fossil Free NL and Fossil Free Advertising for dangerous misleading advertising. We know that we need to emit less CO2, so why are companies like this still allowed to promote their fossil products? We haven’t accepted tobacco advertising for a long time because it’s also a highly harmful product, and an industry notorious for deception.” This action was coordinated with similar actions in Belgium, England, France, Italy, and Portugal.
Greenpeace Netherlands also conducted various actions to promote the citizen initiative. They collected signatures in Amsterdam from two docked Greenpeace boats, sent letters to donors, and participated in the Dam to Dam running race last weekend, which is sponsored by, among others, KLM, wearing ‘Stop Fossil Advertising’ shirts.