Climate change

ICC Framework for Responsible Environmental Marketing Communications

  • 22 November 2021

ICC Framework for Responsible Environmental Marketing Communications

The Environmental Framework provides a summary of the principles of the ICC Code including those outlined in Chapter D on environmental claims and supplements them with additional commentary and guidance to aid practitioners in applying the principles to environmental advertising. The updated Environmental Framework provides a resource for advertising industry stakeholders in meeting their responsibilities to provide truthful and appropriately supported environmental claims.

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There has been growing interest by the media, government, consumers, and other stakeholders about the impact of human activities on the environment and how to promote “sustainable” consumption and use.  As such, the past few years have seen a renewed interest in environmental marketing, particularly in the context of growing momentum on climate action globally, including collective efforts by governments and businesses to mitigate the threats of climate change and promote sustainable consumption.  Recent years have seen a proliferation of environmental marketing claims, many of which are vague, non-specific or general in nature.

The ICC Framework for Environmental Marketing Communications (ICC Framework) provides added guidance in response to the growing complexity of environmental or “green” marketing claims, including general claims of “sustainability” as well new emerging climate-related, circularity, recyclable content, degradability and additional “free-of” claims.  The Framework provides a helpful approach for advertising industry stakeholders to use in developing and analysing environmental claims, consistent with general principles of the ICC Advertising and Marketing Communications Code and specific guidelines in Chapter D on environmental claims. It helps assists marketers in assuring that ‘self-declared’ environmental claims are truthful and not misleading and are appropriately substantiated and emphasises that environmental marketing claims need to be appropriately qualified and substantiated to avoid misleading consumers.

The Environmental Claims Checklist of the Environmental Framework supplements and strengthens the provisions in the main publication and has been produced as an additional resource intended to assist marketers in identifying when they are making an environmental claim and offers guidance on questions about such claims.