Until recently, the Italian legal framework (both, statutory as
well as regulatory) lacked of provisions specifically regulating
'green claims'. The topic used to be governed by the
principles and requirements set for commercial communication in
general, which were to be found in various 'sector or media
Local lawmakers' attention towards 'green marketing'
- and its rapidly increasing variety of claims related to the theme
- rose to a higher level, when EU Directives 2007/65/EC of December
11th, 2007 (on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by
law, regulation or administrative action in Member States
concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities) and
2010/13/EU of March 10th, 2010 (concerning the provision of
audiovisual media services) were implemented into domestic law. The
EU Directives required that "1. Member States shall ensure
that audiovisual commercial communications provided by media
service providers under their jurisdiction comply with the
following requirements: .....(c) audiovisual commercial
communications shall not: ..(iv)encourage
behavior grossly prejudicial to the protection of the
environment.." (So Section 9 of
While Italy transposed this provision into domestic law by
exactly inserting it into the Radio & TV Broadcasting Code
without any changes to the Directive's wording, still no
specific regulation of green claims resulted available.
The (Industry) Code of Marketing Communication
Self‐Regulation took a similar approach (from a safety
perspective) and required that "Marketing communication
involving products that may potentially endanger health, safety or
the environment, especially when such dangers are not immediately
recognizable, should indicate such dangers clearly."
(Wording of Section 12, governing 'Health, Safety and
Environment', 57th edition of the Code).
In spring 2014, the Institute for Advertising Self-Regulation
– IAP found that it was time to address the topic of green
marketing (and its dark side, the questionable practice of
'green washing') through specific provisions of its
To the purpose, when updating the Code to its 58th
version, the Institute decided:
To reserve a specific section (no. 12) to the 'protection
of the environment', requiring that "commercial
communication stating or conveying the impression of environmental
or ecological benefits, has to be based onto true, relevant and
scientifically verifiable data. Such communication must also allow
to perceive immediately which aspects of the promoted product or
services the claimed benefits specifically refer to" (the
English translation is that of the article's author and not an
To transfer the (unchanged) provisions on safety issues,
previously dealt with in section 12, to a new section 12-bis.
The local advertising industry is now keen to see the first
decisions of the IAP's Jury, enforcing the new provisions
against improper green claims.
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