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Greenwashing: competition watchdog puts UK businesses on notice

The concern is that the consumers may be mislead by environmental claims, and it has been estimated that up to 40% of green claims could be misleading. The CMA has given a deadline until the New Year for green claims to be compliant. Claims both on packaging and advertising or websites are included in the requirement to be compliant.

The CMA state that green claims must be truthful, clear and unambiguous, and should not omit important information. All green claims should consider the full life sysle of the product or service and be substabtiated. 

An environmental claim are claims which sugest that a product, service, process, brand or business is better for the environment.


Food Labelling Services comments:

Environmental claims are increasing in frequency, and each needs to be fully substantiated to ensure that it is robust, truthful and will not mislead the consumer. Advice that we are giving to our clients include:

1. Stick to the facts: Ensure that your environmental claims are truthful and not misleading. Do not exaggerate or treat opinion like fact.

 2. Be ready to substantiate: You may be called upon by the ASA to prove that your claim is true. You should keep documentary evidence to back it up.

 3. Limit absolute. claims: It is much harder to substantiate an absolute claim like "environmentally friendly" than it is a relative claim, like "environmentally friendlier than the old formula".

 4. Be aware of scientific opinion: As scientists investigate climate change, scientific opinion on best practice will evolve. Ensure your environmental claims are based on up-to-date information, and be careful if basing claims on new developments where there is no scientific consensus.

 5. Err on the side of caution: Anyone can complain about your advertisement to the ASA for free. This makes it an easy and accessible tool for environmental campaigners to take action. If you have any doubt about an environmental claim in your marketing, take advice before running it