Advertising regulator to crack down on ‘hot air’ environmental claims


Advertising regulator to crack down on ‘hot air’ environmental claims amid confusion around terms such as ‘net zero’

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the public remained wary of ‘greenwashing’

The advertising regulator is to crack down on ‘hot air’ environmental claims amid confusion around terms such as ‘net zero’. 

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the public remained wary of ‘greenwashing’ and it is ready to ensure consumers are not misled by brands trying to boost their environmental credentials. 

It comes after it banned posters for HSBC which advertised green initiatives but omitted information about the bank’s contribution to carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions. 

A study by the ASA found consumers have a low overall understanding of claims used by advertisers. ‘Carbon neutral’ and ‘net zero’ are the prime sources of confusion, with neither having official definitions, and no fixed rules for how businesses should use the terms. 

ASA pledged to crack down on unqualified claims likely to breach existing rules. 

Miles Lockwood, its director of complaints and investigations, said: ‘We’ll act on these findings: updating guidance, sharing with Government and partners, reviewing the evidence and taking enforcement action where necessary to ensure environmental claims aren’t just hot air.’

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