Published: 01 September 2022  (Updated: 01 September 2022)

Further ASA Ruling on Environmental Claims

Following the news item published on 26 January 2022, another Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling has been made regarding environmental claims.

On 31 August 2022, the ASA upheld a ruling investigated on environmental claims being made by a laundry detergent brand.  The advert made statements regarding the efficiency of the product performance, therefore using less energy.  It also made statements regarding the amount of recycled plastic in the packaging therefore reducing the amount of virgin plastic used.  The advert claimed that the product was “kinder to our planet”.

The laundry detergent brand was able to provide substantiation on the individual performance and packaging claims, however it was questioned whether “kinder to our planet” was a comparison claim.  The Broadcast Advertising code states that absolute claims must be supported by a high level of substantiation, and claims such as “greener” can only be justified if the product provides a total environmental benefit better than a previous product or a competitor’s product.  The basis of this comparison must be clear.  The Code also states that environmental claims must be based on the full life cycle of the product, unless stated otherwise, and claims based on only part of a product’s life cycle must not mislead consumers about the product’s total environmental impact.

The ASA found the advert to be misleading to consumers and in breach of multiple Broadcast Advertising code rules, including misleading advertising, substantiation, and environmental claims.

Whilst not specifically aimed at cosmetics, the result of these rulings demonstrates the type and depth of substantiation that is required when making environmental claims.

The ASA has released guidance here.

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