The Ecolabel Index, the largest global directory of ecolabels tells us that there are over 450 certified eco-labels in the world aiming to give consumers an idea of what environmental values rest behind the product or service they choose.
The UK’s Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) has made a bold move and recently released new guidance on environmental claims in a breakthrough in the fight against ‘greenwashing’. The Green Claims Code guidance is for brand owners and retailers on how to avoid the use of greenwash in their ‘eco-friendly’ product and service claims.
The CMA guidance will help businesses understand and comply with their existing obligations under consumer protection law, when making environmental statements. Green claims are typically used when promoting, advertising or selling products or services in ways that make them seem less harmful to the environment or a real benefit to improving it.
As the CMA points out: “Green claims are genuine when they properly describe the impact of a product, brand, business or service, with evidence to back it up. Claims can be misleading if any information is untrue or hidden, if information is misrepresented or if it is taken out of context.” These misleading claims are what we now all commonly refer to as ‘greenwash’.
Benefits of Labels
The use of labelling backed with verifiable information and data is a critical way to separate genuinely ethical companies from those who aren’t and cut through the associated greenwash. As
consumers increasingly demand products and services which reduce environmental damage, the CMA uses its consumer protection law powers to protect consumers from unfair business practices.
All environmental claims must now comply with six core principles:
- Claims must be truthful and accurate
- Claims must be clear and unambiguous
- Claims must not omit or hide important relevant information
- Comparisons must be fair and meaningful
- Claims must consider the full life cycle of the product or service
- Claims must be substantiated.
The PEFC logo is a globally trusted trademark, backed by the all-important chain of custody. PEFC chain of custody certification provides evidence of a transparent and independently audited supply chain and guarantees that the raw material is from responsibly managed forests. PEFC’s distinctive ‘two trees’ logo is your assurance that wood-based products – from timber to furniture, packaging to paper – come from sustainable sources.
PEFC’s label helps businesses, consumers, forest owners/managers, and other stakeholders to identify and promote products from forests that are managed in line with the strictest environmental, social and economic requirements. A forest that will be around for generations to come.
When you see a PEFC label on wood, non-wood or a wood-based product, it means that it comes from one of these sustainably managed forests.