Is This the Death of Greenwashing?

People are becoming ever more aware of the impact their buying decisions make. Meaning more and more companies are making green claims and using sustainability messaging in their marketing campaigns.

Big shifts in customer focus create new opportunities for business, but they also create opportunities for businesses to manipulate people with clever marketing and PR spin.

This is such a big problem with green claims made by companies that we have the term greenwashing, and we now have the Green Claims Code.

But what is the Green Claims Code and what does it mean for your business?

What is the Green Claims Code?

It’s a code developed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which sets out 6 key points that businesses can use to check that their environmental claims are genuinely green.

It’s been found that 40% of green claims made online could be misleading. So, the code has been written to protect people from misinformation and ensure that the information they use to make a purchasing decision is genuine.

It has also been written to support businesses, not crack down on them. It will ensure that businesses with genuine green claims aren’t outcompeted by disingenuous claims by unethical businesses and unfair competition.

What is a Green Claim?

A green claim is anything your business uses to promote its green credentials. That can be anything written implicitly or explicitly in your copy, the images you use, your logo, icons, brand names, colours and artwork.

Who does the Code affect?

The code applies to all types of business – whether you are B2B (business to business), B2C (business to consumer customer – we hate calling people consumers), whether you wholesale, retail or manufacturer, and whether you offer products or services.

Check if your claims are compliant
There are 6 key pillars that your green claims have to comply with. They are:

1. Your green claim must be truthful and accurate.

2. Your green claim must be clear and unambiguous.

3. Your green claim must not omit or hide important information.

4. Your green claim must only make fair and meaningful comparisons.

5. Your green claim must consider the full life cycle of the product

6. Your green claim must be substantiated and backed up with robust, credible and up-to-date evidence.

This video explains each of these points in more detail:

Compliance Checklist

The CMA has also developed a list for you to use to check your green claims are compliant. So we’ve turned it into a handy checklist document for you to work through for your business.

What are the penalties for breaching the code?

If a company is found in breach of the Green Claims Code the CMA can bring court proceedings and businesses may be required to pay damages to anyone harmed by the breach of the code.

Test Your Green Claims Knowledge

Think you know what makes a fair green claim and what doesn’t?

Test yourself with the Green Claims Quiz – we think you’ll surprise yourself.

Lastly, to read the full guidance on the Green Claims Code click here.

Written by Kayleigh Nicolaou

Co-founder of Kakadu Creative, Kayleigh has worked in the media industry since 2007, managing projects and campaigns for clients ranging from independent high street stores, to music festivals and international brands.
May 2, 2022

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