Since the last revision of the Green Claims – Practical Guidance in 2003, both the overall number and the types of claim found in product and service marketing have changed. For example, in terms of the language and imagery deployed, the presence or otherwise of third party endorsements, and the distribution of claims across different media sources and industry sectors. The Guidance is therefore in the process of being updated and this project supports that process through 3 main objectives:
1. To get an overall picture of the extent of green claims to be found in marketing including in the press, on TV, on the radio and, if possible, on websites. This does not include claims made on product packaging or within company reports;
2. To identify in which sectors, services and products such claims mostly appear, and to understand the context of the identified claims; and
3. To engage with advertisers and their agencies in order to gather their views on green claims; what claims and terminology they use and why, what evidence they use to make those claims and to raise awareness of the Green Claims Guidance.
There are three elements of work:
1. A headline analysis of the green claims `universe` in the UK over the past 3 years. This will provide information on the total number of green claims, the distribution of these claims across different media formats and different industry sectors, and how this has changed over the course of the three years.
2. A detailed analysis of a robust sample of ads across this period. This will delve into the specific details of each ad, including the terminology and imagery deployed, the comparative frequency of green terms, the use of third party endorsements and/or a focus on particular environmental issues.
3. A programme of breakfast/lunch working sessions with industry stakeholders, both to understand current industry thinking in respect of green claims as well as promoting, and inviting feedback on, the guidance.
Across all of the research elements, the purpose is not to try and reach a “verdict” on whether marketing is “good”, “bad” or in violation of the Guidance, but rather to develop a robust evidence base to understand current trends and developments, alongside a process of engagement with those charged with developing the green claims of the future.