Last year the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) published the guidance around making environmental claims on goods and services.
An increase in consumer demand for products and services which minimise harm to, or have a positive effect on, the environment has led to an increase in brands and businesses using such claims on their offerings.
Consumer protection law doesn’t prevent businesses from making environmental claims, provided that they do not mislead consumers. It provides a framework for businesses to make environmental claims that help consumers make educated choices; consumer protection law therefore gives consumers important protection in relation to environmental claims.
The protection from misleading environmental claims protects not only consumers, but also businesses from unfair competition. It creates a level playing field for those businesses whose products genuinely represent a better choice for the environment and who can make truthful environmental claims. In addition, there is separate legislation which directly protects businesses from misleading marketing.
The purpose of the guidance published by the CMA is to help businesses understand, and comply, with their existing obligations under consumer protection law when making any environmental claims. It is hoped that it will give confidence to those businesses whose products and/or services are genuinely ‘green’ so that they can provide consumers with the information they need to make informed decisions.
Within the guidance, the principles which have been designed to help businesses comply with the law are set out. It also explains each of the principles, provides examples of how each of them applies, offers more detailed case studies where multiple principles apply, as well as setting out the legal framework on which these principles are based.
The principles are:
- claims must be truthful and accurate
- claims must be clear and unambiguous
- claims must not omit or hide important relevant information
- comparisons must be fair and meaningful
- claims must consider the full life cycle of the product or service
- claims must be substantiated
Click here to access the Guidance.