According to ISO 14021 standard, sustainability claims are a statement, symbol, or graphic that indicates an environmental aspect of a product, a component, or packaging. Claims can be made in many forms, including both words and pictures, and they can be either expressed or implied.
Making and advertising sustainability claims is not entirely risk-free. There’s a thin line between legitimate (and common) advertising exaggeration and misleading consumers by overstating sustainability performance – i.e., “greenwashing”.
Regulators and watchdogs such as the EU Initiative on Green Claims and the UN High-level Expert Group are increasingly taking action against greenwashing. A recent screening of websites for ‘greenwashing' revealed that national consumer protection authorities had reason to believe that in 42% of cases the claims were exaggerated, false, or deceptive.
Greenwashing is considered an offense in several jurisdictions as it deceives consumers and does not reward companies that are genuinely making efforts to be sustainable. The European Union is also addressing greenwashing by proposing a new law on Green Claims. Consumer protection authorities have created some guidelines to help companies be truthful in their claims. We have turned some of these guidelines into a quiz that you can take below.LFCA Quiz: Get better at spotting (unintentional) greenwashing.Download: Global Guidance on Environmental Claims (WFA)Download: Guidance on Environmental Claims on Goods and Services (CMA)
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