Did you know that up to 40% of green claims could be misleading consumers? In a climate-conscious world, we are doing more and more to reduce our daily environmental impact on the earth. It is important we can trust the brands we buy from to do the same.
The UK Competition and Markets Authority has recently released the Green Claims Code. The aim is to prevent businesses from greenwashing. The code will do this by promoting transparency around what it means to be 'green' and environmentally friendly. This green policy will kick into gear in early 2022.
The Notpla team work hard to demystify what it means to be sustainable, it’s a core part of our values - ‘nature knows best'. In this article, we aim to make sense of how businesses, green marketing must keep to standards and not confuse us along the way!
What is the Green Claims Code?
The code is an outline for communicating green credentials without misleading consumers. SME's are the main businesses in mind. For packaging, this is a call for exciting changes, that will allow truly ‘eco’ solutions to stand out. The CMA has split the new green policy into these rules:
- Claims must be truthful and accurate. Even a factually correct claim could mislead. Businesses should make sure statements are truthful and don't lead customers astray.
- Claims must be clear and unambiguous. Straightforward, simple and transparent wording is important.
- Claims must not omit or hide important information. The product should communicate the green claim in a way that keeps the user fully informed.
- Claims must only make fair and meaningful comparisons. When comparing products with others the comparison must be based on equal and unbiased measurements.
- Claims must consider the full life cycle of the product. The entire lifetime of the product, from cradle to grave or cradle to cradle may be relevant to the green claim.
- Claims on green products must be substantiated. Claims should be backed up with scientific evidence and data.
What does a misleading claim look like?
Green claims often use a lot of sustainability jargon, for example, this cup claims to be 100% compostable. This suggests using this cup over others has some environmental benefit, but is this true? In previous articles, we’ve explained how statements such as this and green certifications can be misleading. Often, and in this case, the cup is only compostable in industrial composts. So this statement is unclear and untrue; this claim doesn’t give us the full picture.
What is Notpla doing?
Here’s an example of a good claim:
This box tells you exactly where its green claims lie. It advertises its ‘biodegradability’. But as we know, biodegradable doesn’t always mean greener (see biodegradable article). To back up this claim the box explains why it is better and the best ways to dispose of it. A link to the website also lets customers find out more.
Our motto is ‘Make packaging disappear’ and we will keep doing just that! With each of our products, we aim to be clear about our green credentials across all our platforms. We will continue to share our knowledge around packaging industry standards and limitations. We aim to go beyond them with our own packaging solutions. Keep an eye on our website, Instagram and products to keep learning with us.
In the meantime here are some useful sites:
For a long read, here is the full Green Claims Code report: Environmental claims on goods and services
Test your Green Claims knowledge here: Green Claims Code – Check your environmental claims are genuine
“Eco-friendly” claims – final UK guidance launched: compliance by the New Year