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'Eco-friendly' fur ad banned

Mark Sweeney for Guardian Sustainable Business
21st March 2012
An ad campaign claiming that it is "eco-friendly to wear fur" has been banned, after the advertising watchdog dismissed assertions that choosing fur is good because it "lasts a lifetime" and "helps conservation".
The European Fur Breeders' Association ran a magazine campaign with the headline "Why it's eco-friendly to wear fur".

Its small print included claims including that fur is "naturally long-lasting", can be "recycled easily and biodegrades" and is "one of the most ecologically balanced systems in agriculture".

The Advertising Standards Authority received a complaint from Global Action in the Interest of Animals, which said the ad was misleading.

The EFBA and the International Fur Trade Federation defended the ad, saying that fur is "durable" and is a "sustainable product".

They argued that products such as mink coats can last 30 years or more, "longer than most of the textile materials", and that fur can be recycled into other items, such as bags and cushions, because it is a "natural and organic product which biodegrades".

Banning the ad, the ASA said the campaign, and supporting documents provided for the investigation, did not show that the fur trade would "cause no environmental damage".

"We considered that that headline claim would be understood as an absolute environmental claim," said the ASA. "Because we did not consider that we had seen sufficient evidence that the product would cause no environmental damage, taking account of the full life cycle of the product from manufacture to disposal, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead."

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This story has been published under licence from Guardian Sustainable Business, of which GreenWise is an editorial partner.

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'Eco-friendly' fur ad banned
The Advertising Standards Authority has banned an ad that claims fur is 'eco-friendly'
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