CCPA Seeks Public Input on Draft Guidelines to Combat Greenwashing

CCPA Seeks Public Input on Draft Guidelines to Combat Greenwashing

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has opened the floor for public comments on the Draft Guidelines for Prevention and Regulation of Greenwashing. These guidelines, aimed at curbing deceptive environmental claims, have been made available on the Department of Consumer Affairs’ website. Interested parties can access the full document through this link.

In a significant move, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) established a committee of stakeholders dedicated to addressing the issue of “Greenwashing.” This committee, formed on November 2, 2023, brought together representatives from National Law Universities (NLUs), law firms, government bodies, Voluntary Consumer Organizations (VCOs), and major industry associations.

Over a series of three meetings, the committee meticulously worked towards finalizing the Draft Guidelines for the Prevention and Regulation of Greenwashing. The last meeting, held on January 10, 2024, saw in-depth discussions on the proposed guidelines. These guidelines have been shaped through extensive consultations with committee members and are now open for public scrutiny.

Public Participation and Feedback

The CCPA is actively encouraging public engagement in this process. Interested individuals and organizations can provide comments, suggestions, or feedback to the Central Authority within the next 30 days, until March 21, 2024.

The draft guidelines provide a clear definition of Greenwashing, describing it as any deceptive or misleading practice that involves concealing, omitting, or hiding relevant information. This may include exaggerating, making vague, false, or unsubstantiated environmental claims, and the use of misleading words, symbols, or imagery.

The proposed guidelines are set to be applicable to all advertisements, impacting service providers, product sellers, advertisers, advertising agencies, and endorsers. The guidelines explicitly state that terms like ‘green,’ ‘eco-friendly,’ ‘eco-consciousness,’ ‘good for the planet,’ ‘cruelty-free,’ and similar assertions should only be used with adequate disclosures.

Disclosure Requirements

To ensure transparency and authenticity, the guidelines prescribe various disclosure requirements for companies making green claims:

a. Full Disclosure: All environmental claims in ads or communications must be fully disclosed, either directly or through technology like QR codes or web links.

b. Non-Selective Data Presentation: Avoid selectively presenting data to favorably highlight environmental claims while hiding unfavorable aspects.

c. Scope Definition: Clearly define the scope of environmental claims, specifying whether they relate to products, manufacturing processes, packaging, product usage, disposal, services, or service provision processes.

d. Evidence-backed Claims: All environmental claims must be backed by verifiable evidence.

e. Comparative Claims: Comparative environmental claims must be based on verifiable and relevant data.

f. Substantiation: Substantiate specific environmental claims with credible certification, reliable scientific evidence, and independent third-party verification for authenticity.

The guidelines recognize aspirational or futuristic environmental claims, permitting them only when clear and actionable plans have been developed, detailing how those objectives will be achieved. For those seeking additional information on these new guidelines, please visit the official link. Your input is valuable, and the CCPA looks forward to constructive feedback from the public as they work towards creating a more transparent and accountable marketplace.

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