interior of a a Renault, a French car make

France Will Require Car Ads to Tell People to Walk or Bike Instead

The French are no strangers to adding warning labels to certain products to help better the health of their citizens. Already they have strict labeling and advertising regulations for tobacco products, and junk food has a label telling consumers to cut back on these and eat more fruits and vegetables. Now, France is introducing a caveat to car advertisements, as well, to help reduce the pollution in the country.

France Adding Caveat To Car Advertisements To Reduce Pollution

For years, French environmental groups have been lobbying for France to completely ban car advertisements. The French Government has now officially responded to these requests, though not in the form of an outright ban. Rather, they are requiring all car advertisements to have a special label or announcement encouraging people to walk, bike, use public transit, or carpool. Manufacturers must also include each vehicle’s carbon dioxide emissions class in the advertisements. These requirements will begin in March, however, by 2028, ads for the highest-polluting cars will be completely banned. (1)

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The Details

So what will these advertisement additions say, exactly? The manufacturers will have three options:

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  • Consider carpooling
  • For short trips, opt for walking or cycling
  • Use public transportation for everyday trips

At the end of the message, the advertiser must add the hashtag #SeDéplacerMoinsPolluer. This translates to move with less pollution or move pollute less. The message is to be included in written form on print ads, internet ads, as well as those on television. On the radio, the advertisement must include a spoken version of the message at the end of their ad. If the manufacturers and advertisers do not comply, they can face charges of up to $56,000.

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“Decarbonizing transportation does not only mean switching to an electric motor. It also means using public transportation or cycling when possible,” wrote French Ecological Transition Minister Barbara Pompili on Twitter.

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various people biking through the streets of Paris, France
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France Combats Climate Change

Previously France has set some pretty lofty goals when it comes to tackling climate change and reducing the country’s carbon emissions. Their goal was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% in comparison to the country’s levels in 1990 by the end of this decade. France’s High Council on Climate warned the government last summer that the country is not on track to meet this goal.

According to the European Environment Agency, emissions related to transportation make up one-quarter of the European Union’s greenhouse gas emissions. Cars are a major contributor to transportation emissions, primarily because more often than not there is only one person per vehicle. This is precisely why France is now pushing consumers to consider other, more environmentally conscious methods of transportation whenever possible. (2)

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crown of people walking through the streets of Paris, France
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The Benefits of Their Suggestions

Of course, walking and biking puts out no carbon emissions at all. As a bonus point, it is also good for your health. The government wants people to start thinking of using biking or their own two feet for short trips. If it is achievable for you by bike or foot and the weather permits it, get outside and leave the car at home.

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Public transportation is another great way to reduce carbon emissions. If more people used public transportation when they were able to, there would be a lot fewer cars on the road. Buses, trains, and the subway all have the capacity to transport huge amounts of people at once. While yes, these options still have a carbon footprint, 100 people on one train is a lot better than 100 more cars on the road. On top of that, many countries around the world are updating their transit systems to make them more environmentally friendly.

Finally, if walking, biking, or public transportation aren’t options, carpooling is still a great way to reduce emissions. For example, rather than you and three of your coworkers all driving separately to work every day, why not work out some kind of carpool system? This will still reduce the number of cars putting out emissions. On top of that, you can share car-related expenses such as gas.

Hopefully, these new messages will get the French consumers thinking more about how their transportation habits affect the environment – as well as people in other countries, too.

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Sources

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  1. France says car ads must come with a caveat: Walk, bike or take public transit instead.” Washington Post. Claire Parker.
  2. Emissions of the main air pollutants in Europe.” EEA. November 18, 2021.
Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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