UK releases new anti-greenwashing guide

New UK report to help businesses avoid greenwashing

The UK, which this author personally believes is leaps ahead of the US in its implementation of green practices, has taken another step forward by releasing the Green Claims Guidance. This report – an update of guidelines released in 2003, is a toolkit to help companies avoid greenwashing.

Published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), this important guide was developed in partnership with the Office of Fair Trading and representatives from the retail and advertising industries to ensure that product environmental claims can be verified as accurate.

DEFRA based these guidelines on research that showed consumers were able to grasp the terms “energy efficient” and “recycling” more easily  than some others such as “negative carbon footprint”.

With what is hoped will result in similarly clear guidelines, the Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. last fall proposed several revisions to its ”Green Guides” to help companies avoid making misleading environmental claims. Public comment on these proposals ended mid-December, so no word yet as to how quickly or fully these revisions would be implemented.

With growing public concern about misleading labels and outright inaccurate advertising, it’s hoped that definitive guidelines will be available soon.

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