ASA will ‘shine a spotlight’ on eco claims to expose greenwashing

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The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will step up its investigations into brands’ eco claims – including carbon neutral and net zero statements – in a crackdown on greenwashing. 

The ASA says the new focus reflects the global prioritisation of climate change mitigation strategies and the UK Government’s own ambitious carbon reduction targets. Strengthening action against greenwashing, it says, “(will) ensure that our regulation remains effective in the context of a society which is increasingly concerned about the impact human behaviours are having on our planet”. 

New guidance, to be published later this year, will set out key principles advertisers will need to follow when making claims about environmental issues. 

In a statement this week, the ASA said: “That Guidance will re-affirm that the ASA will be shining a brighter regulatory spotlight on environmental matters in the years to come and tightening up our positions on problematic ad claims where there is an evidence base to do so”. 

Climate change related claims will come in for early scrutiny. To help its work in this area, the ASA will commission research this year into consumer understanding of the concepts of carbon neutral and net zero claims. 

Next, the Authority will extend its focus onto ‘recyclable’/’recycling’, ‘biodegradable’/’compostable’ and “plastic alternative” claims, and in spring 2022 it will move onto meat-based and other forms of food sustainability issues later in that year.

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