The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched its new Green Claims Code in a bid to address misleading eco-friendly marketing by companies.
The guidance is intended to tackle a surge in “Greenwashing” by businesses, which are inflating their environmental credentials by omitting or lying about the ecological impact of their operations.
A recent survey suggests that an estimated 40 per cent of green claims online are potentially misleading, with the CMA predicting that thousands of companies are breaking the existing law.
The government body announced that it will be conducting a review of green claims in early 2022 and will “take action” against companies in violation of the Code.
According to the organisation, the Code focuses on six principles based on existing consumer law.
The new requirements state that any environmental claims must be true and accurate, clear and unambiguous and must not omit or hide important information.
It also mentions that comparisons must be clear and meaningful, environmental claims must be substantiated and the full life cycle of the product or service must be considered.
The release comes as part of the department’s wider campaign to raise climate awareness in advance of COP26 on October 31.
“We’re concerned that too many businesses are falsely taking credit for being green, while genuinely eco-friendly firms don’t get the recognition they deserve,” CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said.
“The Green Claims Code has been written for all businesses – from fashion giants and supermarkets to local shops.
“Any business that fails to comply with the law risks damaging its reputation with customers and could face action from the CMA.”
Minister of State for energy and clean growth Greg Hands added: “Millions of UK households are rightly choosing to switch to green products as they look to reduce their carbon footprint.
“It’s only right that this commitment is backed up by transparent claims from businesses.
“The competition regulator’s new code will help to ensure this with advice on how best to communicate and understand environmental claims.”