UK advertising regulator to crack down on false greenwashing claims

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The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will release new guidance to crack down on false greenwashing claims.


The body will set out key principles so ads don’t mislead people about the environment and are socially responsible when considering environmental issues.


READ: Greenwashing: UK firms to face crackdown next year


The ASA will also start a series of enquiries into high-polluting sectors, such as aviation, cars, waste, animal-based foods and heating. The focus will initially be on energy, heating and transport issues. It will work with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on their current enquiry into green energy tariff reform.


In spring 2022, the ASA will look into waste and how products are described as ‘recyclable’/’recycling’, ‘biodegradable’/’compostable’ or ‘plastic alternatives’, followed by food ads later next year.


Another key area will be electric vehicles and how they are associated with carbon neutral and net-zero claims.


Ryanair Holdings PLC (LSE:RYA) came under fire in early 2020 after it claims that it was the airline with the lowest emissions.


The ASA banned an advert as it was based on data from 2011 and labelled it as misleading.


Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LSE:RDSB) had a similar experience in 2008, when it said that a massive oil refinery in Texas and a Canadian tar sands project were “sustainable”. ASA said that was misleading as there wasn’t enough evidence to show the emissions from these activities were reduced.

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