Kathryn Gilbertson

+44 (0)1733 887621 kgilbertson@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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Greenwashing – beware of what you claim

Regulatory / 23 September 2021

In readiness for the COP26 conference in Glasgow in November, the Competition and Markets Authority has published its Green Claims Code to prevent greenwashing.  In January 2021, the CMA’s coordinated global review of randomly selected websites found that 40% of green claims could be misleading, using vague terms such as eco, sustainable or natural product labels, whilst hiding information about a product’s pollution levels.  The Code will ensure that accurate environmental benefits are known.

The Code applies to claims made by businesses to consumers and to other businesses.  Businesses making environmental claims need to follow these principles:

—  Claims must be truthful and accurate
—  Claims must be clear and unambiguous
—  Claims must consider the full life cycle of the product or service
—  Claims must not omit or hide important information
—  Comparisons must be fair and meaningful
—  Claims must be substantiated

We have all seen environmental claims made in advertising and marketing material, but do we know if these are genuine?  With environmental, net-zero and carbon zero claims also becoming more prevalent, the CMA also announced that it would carry out a full compliance review of misleading green claims (made both through online and offline channels) early in 2022 and confirmed it would bring enforcement against businesses that make misleading claims.

Greenwashing undermines your credibility and erodes consumer confidence.  It is an unfair commercial practice that misleads.

If you’re planning on using environmental or sustainability claims as part of promotions for your goods, services or brands then do get in touch.

Let our specialist lawyers review these claims and ensure that you can fully defend any challenge.


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This update is for general purposes and guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should seek legal advice before relying on its content. This update relates to the prevailing circumstances at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments. If you have general queries about our updates, please email: mailinglists@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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