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24/11/2021

ICC Framework

for Responsible Environmental Marketing Communications

 

Background

 

There has been growing interest by the media, government, consumers, and other stakeholders about the impact of human activities on the environment and how to promote “sustainable” consumption and use.  As such, the past few years have seen a renewed interest in environmental marketing, particularly in the context of growing momentum on climate action globally, including collective efforts by governments and businesses to mitigate the threats of climate change and promote sustainable consumption. 

There has also been a proliferation of “environmental” claims and interest in concepts of “environmental sustainability” and “sustainable development,” with growth in general claims that products or services are “eco-friendly,” “green,” “sustainable,” “carbon neutral” and well as some new emerging claims in the marketplace such as “climate neutral”, “climate positive”, “net zero”, “circular”; “natural”, “microplastics-free”, etc.

 

The ICC Advertising and Marketing Communications Code, serves as the cornerstone for many national and regional Codes and it is complemented by various sectoral guidelines, such as the ICC Framework for Environmental Marketing Communications (Environmental Framework), which provides added guidance in response to the growing complexity of environmental or “green” marketing claims.

 

A joint working group was established in June last year, including members from the Commission on Marketing and Advertising and the Commission on Environment and Energy, to work on updating the Environmental Framework to address new issues, concepts and environmental claims that have emerged.

 

The revised Environmental Framework:

  • Provides added guidance in response to the growing complexity of environmental or “green” marketing claims, including general claims of “sustainability”, climate-related, circularity, recyclable content, degradability and additional “free-of” claims.

  • Provides a helpful approach for advertising industry stakeholders to use in developing and analysing environmental claims, consistent with general principles of the ICC Advertising and Marketing Communications Code and specific guidelines in Chapter D on environmental claims.

  • Assists marketers in assuring that ‘self-declared’ environmental claims are truthful and not misleading and are appropriately substantiated.

  • Emphasises that environmental marketing claims need to be appropriately qualified and substantiated to avoid misleading consumers. 

 

Download the framework here