ASA to crack down on misleading green claims

ASA, the advertising standards body, has announced plans to crack down on ‘green’ claims made in adverts that do not stack up.
In its annual report the body said “as the UK and other countries set ambitious targets to address the climate emergency, we recognise the role advertisers and ad regulation increasingly play in meeting them. Consumers and businesses want to make more sustainable choices but navigating green claims is not always easy.” Through its ‘Our Climate Change and Environment’ it conducted and published research into consumer understanding of carbon neutral and net-zero claims, and it concluded “Consumers were confused by key terms and called for definitions to be standardised and policed. They also told us they thought that claims for carbon neutrality meant an absolute reduction in carbon was taking place and that they felt misled when carbon offsets were used.”
As an example ASA highlighted a 2022 ruling against HSBC, which published an ad that “was misleading as it failed to acknowledge HSBC’s own contribution to emissions through its investments in industries that emit high levels of greenhouse gases.”
ASA said it was monitoring carbon neutral and net-zero claims and it plans to take further action in 2023.
Lessons in regulation from ASA