Green ads falling short in UK

20 July 2010

LONDON: Many advertising campaigns promoting the green credentials of brands in the UK do not adequately support their core claims, a study has found.

A report by Defra, the government department responsible for the environment, and Brook Lyndhurst, the consultancy, was critical of current marketing practice in this area.

More specifically, 40% of ads championing the eco-friendly qualities of goods and services fell short when it came to offering information that allowed consumers to verify the assertions made.

A third of relevant communications suggesting that a company is delivering a superior performance with regard to matters like sustainability "fail to provide details of what they are comparing themselves to".

One unexpected finding was that ads with an environmental focus hold a market share of less than 1%.

This was a "much smaller" figure than anticipated, and a total that has declined since the onset of the economic downturn.

A primary contributor to this trend is anxiety related to allegations of "greenwashing", and it was argued that Defra should develop "improved guidance and support" to encourage greater openness.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff