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  • Patrick Voss

Even those with a focus on ESG can fall prey to Greenwashing claims

What you associate your brand with in any communications and imagery is being more closely scrutinsed.

The UK's Advertising Standards Authority has banned an advert from Innocent Drinks as they considered that 'many consumers would interpret the overall presentation of the ad to mean that purchasing Innocent products was a choice which would have a positive environmental impact'.

“Little drinks, big dreams” featured animated characters singing a song about “messing up the planet”, but when challenged, they change tack to sing about “fixing up the planet”.

The ASA noted that: 'The song concluded, “Reduce. Re-use. Recycle. Because there is no planet B. If we’re looking after nature she’ll be looking after me”, accompanied by images of people taking leisure in a lush green environment, with many of them alongside bottles of Innocent drinks. At the end of the ad, a voice-over stated, “Innocent. Little drinks with big dreams for a healthier planet.” '

According to the CAP and BCAP Codes (the UK’s advertising rules for agencies, advertisers and media owners), any environmental claims must be based on the full life cycle of the advertised product, unless the ad stated otherwise.

Despite the fact that Innocent has achieved B Corp status (a certification demonstrating high commitment to the environment) and has in place a host of commitments to reduce environmental impact, 26 people challenged whether the ad exaggerated the total environmental benefit of the products and was therefore misleading.

After reviewing, the ASA upheld this compaint.

As the focus on #ESG continues to intensify, you still need to be careful how you position your organisation to avoid claims of #greenwashing and be clear on your total environmental impact - even when you may have taken many steps towards more sustainable practices.

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