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What does the Green Claims Code mean for brands?

Discover how your brand can adhere to the guidance

In 2021, the UK’s Green Claims Code was created to protect consumers from misleading environmental claims and ensure a level playing field for businesses making claims about their products and services. In recent months, the Green Claims Code has been back in the news following the EU Commission’s new Green Claims Directive, introduced in March 2023. With studies showing that “53.3% of examined environmental claims in the EU were found to be vague, misleading or unfounded and 40% were unsubstantiated”, there is no doubt that sustainability will remain top of every brand’s agenda in 2023. This blog references the UK Green Claims Code. 

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What is the Green Claims Code?

The UK’s Green Claims Code is overseen by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). It provides guidance on making accurate and transparent environmental claims. The Green Claims Code supports the growing demand for environmentally responsible products and services. While it is not a law, it provides grounds for the CMA to investigate a company that is potentially greenwashing.


The six principles of the Green Claims Code

  • Truthful and accurate claims. Ensure that any environmental claims made are based on factual information and can be substantiated.
  • Clear and unambiguous claims. Make sure that claims are easily understood, avoiding any misleading or confusing language.
  • Not omitting or hiding important information. Provide all relevant information to consumers, avoiding the omission or concealment of crucial details that could impact their decision-making process.
  • Fair and meaningful comparisons. When comparing products or services, ensure that the comparisons are accurate, relevant and fair.
  • Considering the full lifecycle of the product or service. Take into account the environmental impact of the entire lifecycle of the product or service, from production to disposal.
  • Substantiating claims. Be prepared to provide evidence to support any environmental claims made, ensuring that the information is accurate, reliable and up to date.
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How will the Green Claims Code affect brands?

The Green Claims Code will have a significant impact on brands, as it requires them to be more transparent and accurate with their environmental claims. However, it is not only brands that will be affected; manufacturers, wholesalers or distributors that do not necessarily have direct contact with a consumer will also be liable.

In some cases, retailers and wholesalers (or manufacturers) could be liable for claims under consumer protection legislation. For example, retailers that sell products featuring misleading environmental claims made by manufacturers or wholesalers on their packaging can be liable for those claims (as well as the manufacturer or wholesaler). Retailers should ensure that any such claims are accurate and not misleading.  

So, what steps do you need to take?

  • Review your current marketing materials. Assess your advertisements, product labelling, packaging and any accompanying information to ensure that all environmental claims are accurate and in line with the Green Claims Code.
  • Gather accurate and up-to-date information. Conduct thorough research to obtain the most recent data on the environmental impact of your products and services. This information will serve as the basis for any environmental claims you make.
  • Develop clear and concise messaging. Craft your environmental claims in a way that is easy for consumers to understand and ensures that accurate information is communicated effectively.
  • Ensure fair comparisons. When comparing your products or services to competitors, make sure that the comparisons are fair, meaningful and based on accurate information. Avoid making misleading or unsubstantiated claims that may violate the Green Claims Code.
  • Be prepared to provide evidence. As a business, you should be ready to substantiate any environmental claims you make with appropriate evidence. This may include data, certifications or third-party assessments that support your claims and demonstrate your commitment to transparency and accuracy.

In summary, the Green Claims Code will push brands, manufacturers, retailers and distributors to be more transparent, accurate and responsible in their environmental claims, ultimately helping consumers make more informed and sustainable choices. Together, let’s make a positive impact on the environment and empower consumers to make informed, sustainable choices.

Get in touch with us now to ensure your packaging and sales promotions are compliant and sustainable.