UK Environmental Claims Legislative and Regulatory Landscape

Olivia Santoni

As we shift towards a circular economy and a more environmentally conscious consumer, the demand for products that have a lesser or even beneficial impact on the planet has dramatically increased. Whilst this is a change for good, some ‘green claims’ practices have led to  greenwashing and misleading claims.

The authorities have therefore recognised that there is a need for clear guidance and more vigilant enforcement when it comes to environmental claims. At Bloom Regulatory, we’ve seen an increase in not only authority enforcement but also consumer awareness of misleading green claims so it is definitely an important topic for businesses to understand the current landscape.

What is the CMA UK Green Claims Code?

In January of 2021, the Competition and Markets authority (CMA) published the findings of a global review of randomly selected websites initiated by The International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network (ICPEN). The results of this highlighted that 40% of green claims made online could be misleading consumers. The Green Claims Code was then published in September of 2021 by the CMA to help businesses understand and comply with their existing obligations under consumer protection law when making environmental claims. This was written with the intention of supporting businesses during the transition to a low carbon economy whilst also preventing greenwashing.

The UK government defines a green claim as ‘claims that show how a product, service, brand or business provides a benefit or is less harmful to the environment’. Claims that imply no environmental impact are also captured under the Green Claims Code. It is important to remember that a claim can be anything from statements to images, logos and even colours.

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