In recent years, sustainability has emerged as a critical factor in marketing.
Consumers are now showing increasing concern about the environmental impact of their purchasing – as a result, green claims, like "carbon neutral" and" net zero," have gained popularity.
But why is it so important to get your green claims right?
In this blog, we will delve into the significance of transparency, the importance of getting green claims right, understanding how customers see and interact with green claims, the latest green guidance and ways to avoid fines and greenwashing.
For consumers, the concept of brands being "green" is still relatively new and can be challenging to grasp.
Ina study conducted by ASA's Climate Change and the Environment project in 2021,it was identified that consumers often confuse the meaning of "carbon neutral" and "net zero" claims.
The confusion around sustainability creates room for unnoticed greenwashing and green claim deception.
Asa result, there is a growing demand for clear definitions and transparent regulation of green claims by official bodies with more stringent rules and regulations to hold brands accountable.
To avoid breaching increasing monitoring regulations and misleading customers, organisations seeking to position themselves as green should adopt a simple and accurate sustainable message.
Knowledge is power.
The current confusion surrounding sustainability may stem from organisations not fully understanding their sustainability.
By not getting green claims right, brands are not being recognised for their actual green efforts and put themselves at risk of greenwashing – leading to reputational damage!
While greenwashing may sometimes be unintentional, it still erodes trust in the entire sustainability movement.
Therefore to build reputation and brand trust and maintain brand loyalty, businesses should familiarise themselves with their sustainability efforts to clearly, and truthfully communicate their green claims.
To better understand their sustainability efforts and receive assistance in formulating their green claims, brands can now check their sustainability status here: Green Claims Code – Check your environmental claims are genuine
As the focus on sustainability grows, so do the regulations surrounding green claims.
Now when evidence indicates questionable practices, the ASA Group may initiate reviews and take proactive action against organisations that make unqualified green claims.
To help brands that might be confused about their sustainability practices, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and BCAP have provided guidance to ensure transparent and accurate green claims.
Some key principles include:
Avoid Unqualified Claims: Brands should refrain from using unqualified terms like "carbon neutral" or "net zero claims" and, if used, must provide evidence and explanations.
Accurate Information: Brands should include precise information about their efforts to reduce carbon emissions actively or rely on offsetting. This will prevent consumers from assuming products or their manufacturing processes generate minimum emissions.
Verifiable Strategies: Claims based on future goals, such as reaching net zero or carbon neutrality, should be supported by a provable strategy.
Compliant Offsetting: If claims are based on offsetting, brands should comply with standard evidence requirements for objective claims and provide information about the offsetting scheme being used.
Transparent Qualifications: If any qualifying information is necessary, it should be prominently displayed andplaced close to the main claim to prevent misleading consumers.
Most importantly, brands must first understand what makes them sustainable to avoid vague and confusing messaging, which may put them at risk of greenwashing and fines.
For quick and easy tips on ensuring you communicate your green claims clearly and accurately, read our blog on "5 do's and don'ts" on how brands can market themselves as sustainable.
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With years of experience in the sustainability sector, we have honed our expertise in writing about all types of sustainability topics, ranging from controversial issues such as palm and silicone to 100% natural disinfectants – we've done it all!
We understand that every client has a unique perspective –and we'll work closely with you to understand the value your business is bringing to the sustainability space. This involves researching the topics we explore to effectively challenge, debunk, and critically examine pervading opinions and established mainstream narratives. We will empower you to market your sustainable journey truthfully, effectively, and comprehensively.
The path to sustainability can be challenging, but we are dedicatedto guiding our clients through this process, ensuring a better and greenerplanet for all.
Together, let's unlock your sustainable brand's potential andpositively impact the world!
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