Climate-Damaging Outdoor Adverts Could Soon Be Banned In Helsinki

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The capital of Finland may soon be getting rid of outdoor adverts that aren’t climate-friendly. Launched by Finnish MP Mai Kivelä, the initiative requires city authorities to consider the environmental impact of the outdoor advert space it rents out. This will help the City of Helsinki meet its goal of reaching net-zero by 2035. 

The City of Helsinki will consider whether adverts for products and services are climate-friendly before tendering its outdoor advertising space. According to Finnish newspaper Kansan Uutisten, the measure was decided in June after the proposal was made by Mai Kivelä MP. Kivelä has previously worked for Greenpeace, and is an advocate for human rights and the environment. 

Climate-damaging advertising

Helsinki will now consider outdoor adverts’ climate impact. (Image: Unsplash)

Regulating outdoor advertising on the basis of its climate impact will help the city achieve its net-zero ambitions. Helsinki has committed to going carbon neutral by 2035, fifteen years before the Paris agreement deadline. 

By making public its intentions to consider climate impacts of advertising, the City of Helsinki hopes to incentivise greener behaviour from advertisers and marketing firms. 

“The City of Helsinki is committed to fighting the climate crisis,” says the proposal, as translated from Finnish. “Environmental measures will lose relevance if the city simultaneously rents out outdoor advertising space for marketing aimed at increasing the consumption of climate-damaging products and services.” 

‘Nationally significant’

Kivelä, a part of the Left Alliance in Finnish politics, says that the city’s adoption of the proposal is a nationally significant move. It marks the first time climate impacts will be assessed when it comes to advertising regulations in Finland. 

She told Kansan Uutisten that the climate crisis “cannot be resolved if overconsumption is not addressed” and urged climate-damaging advertising to be regulated in other regions too. 

Finnish MP Mai Kivelä believes the decision is nationally significant. (Image: Unsplash)

Scrutiny over advertising

Ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year, a report identified advertising as a key driver of materialism and work-and-spend cycles. Some examples of climate-harming products constantly marketed to consumers include beef, tobacco, cars and flying.

Experts have come out to call for greater measures to clamp down on these practices. In the U.K., a group of public health professionals said high-carbon products should be labelled with smoking-style graphic imagery. 

Last week, renowned conservationist Dr Jane Goodall and 60 other leading scientists penned a letter to the E.U. urging for an end to funding meat adverts. Livestock farming is a major contributor to climate change, responsible for around 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

Lead image courtesy of Unsplash.

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