Digital Marketing, Competition and Consumers Bill explained

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Where there is a potential unique selling point or premium to be added to a product, businesses will want to take advantage. The temptation to include claims around a product’s environmental credentials may be one such way to drive sales, but, as most will know, when these are either misleading or untrue it’s greenwashing.  

According to a report published in 2023 by the Changing Markets Foundation​​, ‘greenwashing’ is rampant across the food sector – and the aforementioned ‘allure’ may be one of the main reasons why.

What is the green claims code?

Adding a label to a product that refers to its own or the business’ environmental credentials is currently voluntary and there are no plans for eco-labelling to become mandatory in the UK, although it appears that the EU may take that step in the future.

The UK Government has published guidance on the use of green claims in the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) green claims code​​. Closely related to the general requirements of any advertising and marketing for any type of claim, the green claims code requires businesses to be transparent, open and accurate about claims they make about environmental credentials. There are 13 statements within the code that businesses must comply with, but one that I believe is of particular importance is that there is up-to-date and credible evidence to show that a green claim is true.

This requirement is not fully defined and comprehensive because there is currently no defined methodology for gathering and presenting evidence, and there is a range of environmental accreditations in existence that all have different requirements.

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