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Would your brand’s claims pass the green claims code?

Last week a friend of mine commented on a Facebook post from a company that makes plastic AstroTurf.  They were marketing the ‘green’ credentials of their product vs. competitors based on the type of material used. My friend rightly highlighted that replacing grass with plastic (and literally wrapping the earth in plastic) is not really environmentally friendly!

It’s a perfect example of why the Green Claims Code legislation has been created for marketers, with six key points to check your environmental claims are genuinely green.  Did you know that was coming?  And if so, are you ready for it?

For my own Chartered Marketer CPD I recently watched a CIM Webinar with Gemma Butler and Michelle Carvill on what we need to know about the green claims code. They shared the Competition & Markets Authority stat that 40% of environmental claims online were misleading. And asked us marketers to consider our role in using our powers for good by ensuring brands “say what you do and do what you say.”

Three points I noted from this excellent webinar:

  • Be truthful, accurate, clear and unambiguous – e.g. is it your carbon footprint or the consumer’s that reduces by buying this product? Do you just pass the problem on to the consumer by making them collect instead?
  • Use fair, meaningful comparisons that can be substantiated and be ready to show that your proof is a direct measure of what you’re claiming. If you’re offsetting by planting trees are you 100% sure your investors don’t happen to fund deforestation?
  • Know and consider the full lifecycle of your product before you make any claims – what happens to it, where does it go, what’s its environmental impact at its end of life?

What this webinar also highlighted is that those broader claims of future targets or intent better be realistic and that claiming to be the “most” sustainable in your industry (or least bad) won’t wash.

I’m not an expert in this field or the Green Claims Code so if you want to know more and get prepared, you can visit the official website here and the webinar here which will also lead you to its hosts and their services.

The best advice I can give you relating to your ‘green’ credentials is to start by being crystal clear in your own mind: Are you are a brand that exists to tackle an environmental challenge; or are you a brand whose product or service has some negative environmental impact but you do things to mitigate that?

The first puts the environment at the centre of your proposition, the second does not. Don’t confuse the two.

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