Are Green Claims Being Misused?

A review conducted by the CMA has shown that 40% of green environmental claims could be misleading and breaking the consumer protection law.

The CMA (Competition and Market Authority) and ACM (Authority for Consumers and Markets) are a part of the global and annual search for fraudulent, deceptive and unfair conduct online with, for the first time, a focus on environment claims.

A website search is conducted yearly by the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network to allow for the customer authorities to scan through the internet and target sites that mislead their customers through a range of techniques. For the first time, environmental claims will be looked closely at to identify their misuse for marketing purposes.

This search extends the CMAs current project to tackle false environmental claims by using customer protection legislation. Their focus is to understand how products and services with these environmental claims are made and whether there is sufficient evidence to support them.

The aim is to make the customer aware of the products and services they are using by bringing transparency to the market and avoid influencing them to purchase by providing misleading information.

The CMA and ACM search has so far analysed 500 websites that promote environmental benefits from using their products and services in a range of industries. The results suggested that 40% of the 500 websites (200 websites) have misled customers, breaking consumer law.

The claims within these websites were identified as being vague as no evidence or substantial explanation was given to support claims of being environmentally beneficial and important figures were kept hidden which would have provided the sufficient evidence to support the claims.

Chief Executive at CMA, Andrea Coscelli, says:

“Too many websites appear to be pushing misleading claims onto consumers, which means that companies offering products with a genuine environmental benefit are not getting the customers they deserve. People should be able to easily choose between those companies who are doing the right thing for the environment and those who are not.”

To provide customers with transparent information the CMA will publish guidance for businesses later on in the year that will aid them to provide sufficient evidence for their claims and support the net-zero transition. The ICPEN has not yet decided whether the consumer protection law has been broken by these websites as the search is at an early stage but will be taking appropriate action once the CMA provides further evidence.

More information is available by speaking to Jason Thackray on 0333 9000 246 or email :