The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is set to examine the accuracy of ‘green’ claims in the sales of household essentials such as cleaning products to ensure shoppers are not being misled.
Shoppers nationwide have spent over £130 billion on household essentials just last year alone of which a significant number were marketed as green or environmentally friendly – but are even the best cleaning products truly as they seem?
The CMA (opens in new tab) are adamant to investigate these green claims due to concerns that many companies are guilty of ‘greenwashing’, which is when environmental credentials are exaggerated for marketing purposes. The investigation seeks to get to the bottom of whether products claiming to be green are being accurately marketed.
The CMA’s review will scrutinise a wide range of products known as ‘fast-moving consumer goods (opens in new tab)‘ (FMCG), consisting of essential items used within households on a daily basis and repurchased regularly, such as your favourite cleaning products, groceries, and personal care items, of which boas green or eco-friendly claims.
Currently, a significant number of household products are marketed as ‘green’, namely cleaning products, including up to 91% of all dishwashing items and 100% of toilet products.
However, Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA raises concerns that ‘many shoppers are being misled and potentially even paying a premium for products that aren’t what they seem, especially at a time when the cost of living continues to rise.’
Practices to be concerned with may include the use of vague and broad eco-statements, and marking packaging as ‘sustainable’ and ‘better for the environment’ with no hard evidence. The investigation will also look at claims over the use of recycled or natural materials in products.
This investigation comes as part of the CMA’s ongoing work into misleading green claims (opens in new tab) after having turned its eye to the fashion sector in January 2022. The CMA has also since produced the Greens Claims Code (opens in new tab), a guide to help businesses understand how to accurately communicate their respective ‘green credentials’ to ensure their claims genuinely hold up.
Any further action needed to be taken will depend on the CMA’s assessment of these fast-moving consumer goods.
Should they uncover evidence that shoppers are in fact being misled by green claims, considerations to undertake enforcement action may be taken.