Gov’t bid to cut out misleading eco claims

The Government has produced guidelines to prevent brands making misleading green claims in a bid to “restore the public’s faith in environmental advertising”.


The Green Claims Guidance from Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) aims to help brands describe the environmental credentials of their products using phrases that consumers understand, and in turn help consumers make informed decisions.

The report follows research that revealed that consumers often find phrases such as “negative carbon footprint” hard to understand.

Sustainable products have grown in popularity and so there have been more ads making green claims.

The Advertising Standards Authority has received an increase in complaints about environmental claims in recent years and in March last year introduced new rules to stop marketers exaggerating the environmental benefits of their products.

The green guide is supported by retailers including Marks & Spencer and The Co-operative Group, which participated in the review process.

The report outlines three steps business can take to build consumer confidence in environmental claims:

– Ensure the content of the claim is relevant and reflects a genuine benefit to the environment
– Present the claim clearly and accurately
– Ensure the claim can be substantiated

Environment Minister Lord Henley says: “Sales of ’green’ goods contribute billions of pounds towards the economy while helping to reduce our impact on the environment. If people are making the effort to buy green it is only right that we try to make the process as easy as possible.”

Read the full guide here.

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