28 July 2023

Hands holding a tree

According to ScotPulse April’s survey “How to talk to Scotland”, “94% of adults in Scotland say that companies and brand using honest and transparent language is important”. With global trends showing that people prefer brands with aligned corporate purpose and values and an increase in demand on sustainable products and services, it is key for businesses to avoid doing some green washing.

What is greenwashing?

Greenwashing is a “behaviour or activities that make people believe that a company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is”.

It is a type of marketing which is used to mislead customers who care about the environment.

It can take different forms, such as claiming elements without any justification, or hiding or omitting some key information about the product or service.

What principles should business follow when doing green claims?

Business needs to ensure that their green claims are not misleading. The Competition and Markets Authority has created a Green Claims Code which businesses must comply with.

The principles are:

  • Claims must be trustful and accurate
  • Claims must be clear and unambiguous
  • Claims must not omit or hide important relevant information
  • Comparisons must be fair and meaningful
  • Claims must consider the full life cycle of the product or service
  • Claims must be substantiated

What are the benefits of being honest with your green claims?

If you mislead your customers, you risk impacting your business’ reputation, and in some cases, you can face court proceedings and may have to pay redress to any customer impacted.

Being clear, honest and transparent with your brand build trust with your customers. They are more likely to buy your product or service, recommend your business or buy something else from you. It can also open opportunities for new markets and new customers.

The VIBES Scottish Environment Business Awards has a rigorous judging process for this reason. It is primordial for us to do anything we can to check that the information provided by our applicants is accurate. It builds confidence in our winners and has a holistic impact on all our work. It gives strength to our case studies and trust in the whole process.

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