Today we gave a webinar about the Competition & Markets Authority's new green claims guidance. As well as looking at the guidance itself, we also looked at some ASA investigations across various sectors, including cars, airlines, food and beverages. Here are the key takeaways from our presentation:
- The CMA guidance is consistent with the ASA guidance and the CAP Code, so try to learn lessons from the ASA's published guidance and adjudications.
- We predict that the CMA will focus its attention on those types of media not within the ASA's "advertising" remit, such as point-of-sale, packaging and labelling.
- Although the CMA's initial focus will be on textiles, fashion, travel, transport, food, drink, beauty and cleaning products - but other sectors should not assume that they will not be targeted.
- Eventually, the CMA may impose fines, but with a greater focus on greenwashing by both the CMA and the ASA, reputational damage will be an increasing issue for all stakeholders; not just customers, but shareholders and employees as well.
- There is already an increasing focus on the environmental impact of advertising production with Ad Net Zero. Yesterday, September 29th, AdGreen introduced a free carbon calculator which enables production companies to measure their carbon footprint and then actively work to reduce it.
- The ASA is also prioritising green claims and a strict approach to the analysis of substantiation is inevitable, with the burden of proof on the advertiser. So stress test your substantiation and if you are the subject of an investigation, front load your defence - don't wait for an adverse Draft Recommendation before taking specialist advice.
Finally, as the CMA will be commencing its review of environmental claims in early 2022, now is the time to be reviewing your claims in your advertising, packaging and labelling, checking that you can substantiate all your claims and that ensuring that they are appropriately worded.