The advertising watchdog has banned Greenpeace from running a campaign protesting against coal-fired power stations.
The Advertising Standards Authority
(ASA) said the online 'Redecorate a power station chimney
' campaign was "harmful and irresponsible" because it "encouraged and condoned anti-social behaviour".
And it warned Greenpeace
over the content of all future marketing
The ASA investigated claims on the Greenpeace website asking for £80 donations to fund its campaign against coal-fired power stations.
The ad, which ran at the end of 2011, said: "Direct actions are about being there in person to stop an environmental crime from taking place" and explained: "The proposed new power station at Kingsnorth in Kent would emit about the same amount of CO2 as the world's 30 poorest countries, and when we shut down the existing power station in 2007 we brought the issue of whether it needs to be built firmly to the front line.
"Shutting down dirty power stations is just one of the ways Greenpeace is working to secure a clean energy future, but painting down the side of giant chimneys cranks up the political pressure and throws a vital spotlight on one of the greatest threats to our climate".
A photograph on the page showed a person in a climbing harness painting on the side of a power station chimney.
An internet user challenged whether the claims were harmful and irresponsible, because he believed they encouraged consumers to sponsor an illegal activity and encouraged and condoned anti-social behaviour.
In its response, Greenpeace said it did not promote anti-social behaviour, but did take socially responsible action and taking non-violent direct action was part of that.
It said it would not take direct action unless it believed there was a clear and moral rationale and would not do anything without considering it carefully.
In today's report, the ASA acknowledged: "They said their actions came from deeply held values, which they believed were for the good of society and therefore refuted the allegation that they would do anything anti-social."
But upholding the one single complaint, the ASA concluded: "The ASA noted Greenpeace took direct action without the intention of breaking the law, but understood that, although the Kingsnorth activists had been found not guilty of criminal damage, other similar activity might nonetheless lead to acts that were illegal or anti-social.
"We considered that defacing property would generally be viewed as anti-social, and would in some circumstances be illegal, and considered that the claims 'Redecorate a power station chimney' and '... We prefer them when they have statements written down them, like 'no new coal' or 'stupid' ...' and the photograph of a man painting slogans on the side of a chimney condoned such behaviour.
"Although we considered that the claims themselves were unlikely to influence the public to engage in such exploits themselves, we considered that the claim '£80 Send this Gift. How this gift works ...' sought donations in order to make it possible to finance
similar direct action by others and thereby encouraged such behaviour.
"We therefore concluded that the ad was harmful and irresponsible because it encouraged and condoned anti-social behaviour."
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