CMA publish draft consumer guidance and consultation on greenwashing

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have released both draft guidance on consumer protection laws and a consultation for comment, concerning misleading environmental claims.  

Following the announcement of proposed legislation last year, the new guidance aims to help businesses both understand and comply with their obligations under consumer protection law. 

It also contains consumer guidance, specifically what information to ask for when assessing the truth behind a business’s environmental claims. An analysis of websites by the CMA last year found that 40% of green claims made online could be misleading.

The guidance provides a range of important information including what powers the CMA has to ensure protection laws are complied with, and clarity concerning how these laws translate in to practice for businesses making environmental claims.

For instance, one requirement is that claims need to clear and unambiguous or "[...] should not be presented in ways that are liable to confuse consumers or to give the impression that a product, service, brand or business is better for the environment than it is.".

Stakeholder views sought

The short accompanying consultation asks for stakeholder views surrounding the scope, principles for compliance and the case studies outlined in the guidance. The CMA state they will publish their final guidance in the autumn, after the consultation response have been considered.

This is an important piece of guidance, considering the wealth of environmental claims and credentials being used. Consumer information and clarity is also imperative to tackle deceptive ‘greenwashing’ visible in every day life.

The CMA invites interested parties to respond to the questions posed in the consultation document by Friday 16 July 2021.

The consultation and accompanying documents can be found here.

Louisa Goodfellow

Policy Manager

As Policy advisor Louisa provides key support to our team, including preparing reports on environmental policy issues and maintaining awareness of new developments. As such she will often be found coordinating responses to policy consultations, advocating policy positions and providing internal guidance to current legislation.

Written by Louisa Goodfellow Published 07/06/2021 Topics Sustainability
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