The Guideline for Environmental Claims in Advertising (“Guideline”) has been enacted by the Advertisement Board. The purpose of the Guideline is to inform persons, institutions and organizations on legal compliance of their environmental claims contained in commercial advertisements and commercial practices conducted by advertisers, advertisement agencies and media organizations.
Highlights of the Guideline
- “Environmental claim” is defined as statement or visual relating to environmental benefits or not having harmful environmental effects about the components, manufacturing method, supply process, use or destroy of the advertised goods or services.
- General expressions such as “green”, “sustainable”, “eco”, “nature friendly”, “environment friendly”, “environmentalist slogans”, “zero waste”, “recyclable”, “safe for environment”, “efficient for environment”, “carbon neutral”, “renewable”, “green energy” should not be used without further explanation or in a manner that cause ambiguity in the part of consumers.
- Advertisements should contain detailed information pertaining to what the environmental claim is about, for what and how it is used, whether it wholly or partially pertains to the life cycle of the product, and explanatory information regarding measurement and assessment methods of the relevant environmental impacts.
- Environmental claims pertaining to the legal procedures and standards with which goods or services or advertisers must legally comply or procedures and components that should not normally be used, cannot be communicated in a manner that would cause the impression that the mentioned goods or service, procedure or the company is different than or superior to its rivals or equivalents.
- Environment claims contained in the advertisements must be communicated explicitly specifying to which section, part or procedure of the said goods or service the claims are related.
- Environmental claims related to targeted future environmental impacts of goods or services may be used in advertisements only if such claims are included in a strategy plan that is publicly available and verifiable.
- Consumers must explicitly be informed about whether environmental claims regarding “biodegradable”, “soluble” or “recyclable” features of goods are related to the whole product including its packing or just a part of it, and about under what circumstances biodegradability and composting procedures are applicable or whether such procedure requires use of rare special equipment or taking additional actions.
- The content of the comparison made through comparative environmental claims contained in advertisements, particularly whether the advertiser compare the mentioned product with its own previous products under the same brand or with products of its rivals, must explicitly be communicated.
- Any communication incompatible with sustainable consumption understanding, which underestimates the seriousness of consumer behaviors that cause environment pollution or waste accumulation, encourages for non-recyclable packings, directs consumers to ignore the environmental impact of their behaviors, encourages for or tolerates improper waste disposal, must be avoided.
- Detailed regulations regarding “certificates and approvals”, “claims related to degradability”, “claims related to recyclability” “claims related to recycled substance”, “claims related to renewable energy”, “claims related to reclaimed water” have been introduced by the Guideline.
The number of environmental claims in advertising has significantly increased. The Advertisement Board, taking into account the sensitivity caused by such advertisements in the part of consumers and their serious environmental effect, renders decisions about environmental claims pursuant to provisions of the Regulation on Commercial Advertisement and Unfair Commercial Practices as well as Consumer Protection Law. This Guideline is expected to better guide advertisers and to help establishing a uniform practice by the Advertisement Board.