France: New law forces car ads to tell people to walk, cycle, carpool or use public transport

A new law in France is forcing carmakers to supplement ads with messages about greener transport alternatives.

The law requires the mention of one of three statements in any given advert. Roughly translated, these are “For short journeys, walk or cycle,” as well as “think about carpooling” and “Take public transport daily.”

These messages must be included in all advertising, whether in print, online, or broadcast on radio or TV. The messages must be clearly visible on screen, or in the case of radio ads, be spoken aloud after the ad proper is finished.

A hashtag, #SeDéplacerMoinsPolluer, is also required to be displayed in certain contexts, which translates to “Move without pollution.” Fines for non-compliance can range up to €50,000.

Coming into force on March 1st, the legislation is the product of years of lobbying from French environmental groups.

It’s part of a wider push to cut down on transport emissions in France, with private cars making up a full 15 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas output.

The country has already pledged to end the sale of gas and diesel-powered cars by 2040, while the city of Paris has banned older, more polluting vehicles from the city center.