The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has updated its guidelines on environment-related advertising rules in an effort to combat greenwashing, as reported by ESG Today on June 26. The updated guidelines, titled “Claims about initiatives designed to reduce environmental impact,” provide clearer principles for advertisers to follow when making environmental claims. According to the new guidelines, environmental claims relating to specific products should make it clear that they do not represent the entire business, and absolute environmental claims should be supported by substantial evidence. Additionally, the updated guidance cautions against using past tense language to refer to negative environmental impacts, as it can be misleading and suggest that the business has already resolved its negative impact.
The updated requirements for green claims are based on recent ASA rulings and the principles from the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) guidance about making environmental claims on goods and services. Earlier this month, the ASA banned ads from Shell [SHEL:LN], Repsol [REP:SM], and Petronas [6033:MK] for misleading the public about the climate and environmental benefits of their products. The ASA found that Shell’s ads, for example, misleadingly omitted the fact that the majority of its operations still involve oil and gas investments.