The Central Consumer Protection Authority has released draft guidelines on prevention and regulation of greenwashing for public consultation. The draft guidelines state that all green claims must be backed by “verifiable” evidence and full disclosures regarding claims should be made either directly or through QR code or web links. It also specifies that generic claims such as “environmentally friendly”, “green” or “clean” cannot be made without ample substantiation.

The draft guidelines stated that no person or organisation should indulge in greenwashing. In addition, disclosures made regarding green claims should be easily accessible to consumers and not contradict relevant environmental claims.

“Comparative environmental claims that compare one product or service to another must be based on verifiable and relevant data. Substantiate specific environmental claims with credible certification, reliable scientific evidence, and independent third-party verification for authenticity,” the draft guideline noted.

Generic terms

“Generic terms such as’ clean’, ‘green’, ‘eco-friendly’, ‘eco-consciousness‘, ‘good for the planet’, ‘minimal impact’, ‘cruelty-free’, ‘carbon – neutral’ and similar assertions shall not be used without adequate qualifiers and substantiation and adequate disclosure,” the draft guidelines stated. Specific environmental claims such as carbon Offsets, carbon neutral, compostable, degradable, Free-of, sustainability claims, non-toxic, 100 per cent Natural, Ozone-Safe and Ozone-Friendly, Recyclable, Refillable, Renewable, the companies must be supported them with credible certification, reliable scientific evidence, or independent third-party verification, it added.

The guidelines also prescribe various disclosure that should be made by companies who are making green claims. “Avoid selectively presenting data to favorably highlight environmental claims while hiding unfavorable aspects. Clearly define the scope of environmental claims, specifying whether they relate to products, manufacturing processes, packaging, product usage, disposal, services, or service provision processes,” the draft guidelines added.

It added that “aspirational or environmental” claims can be made only when there is a “clear and actionable plans” outlining how these objectives will be achieved.

“These guidelines shall not apply to any advertisements or communication that is not specific to any product or service,” the draft guidelines added. Stakeholders can send in their comments by March 21.