UK competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced it will give companies until the end of this year to stop any and every misleading claim about their environmental practice, publishing a ‘Green Claims Code’ which lays out the regulations companies must follow.
The new green Code is part of a wider awareness campaign launched by the CMA yesterday (20 September) ahead of COP26 in October. Among the six guiding principles, the CMA calls for firms to ‘consider the full lifecycle of the product’.
“More people than ever are considering the environmental impact of a product before parting with their hard-earned money. 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,” Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, said.
“The Green Claims Code has been written for all businesses – from fashion giants and supermarket chains to local shops,” she added. “Any business that fails to comply with the law risks damaging its reputation with customers and could face action from the CMA.”
The decision also follows a survey undertaken by the CMA last year, in which it examined the impact of green marketing on consumers, and finding 40% of green claims could be misleading. To combat this, the watchdog will be commencing a review of all companies claims after the new year, with any breaches of consumer protection legislation potentially landing offenders in jail for up to two years.
On the decision, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, Greg Hands, said the government will also be undergoing reviews of green energy tariffs ‘to ensure consumers can be confident they are choosing companies that make a conscious choice to invest in renewable energy’.
“Millions of UK households are rightly choosing to switch to green products as they look to reduce their carbon footprint,” he said. “But it’s only right that this commitment is backed up by transparent claims from businesses.”