Green Project is a pioneering self-regulatory initiative on the Polish market launched to promote ethical communication and advertising in terms of environmental responsibility and sustainable development. As a result, it also prevents greenwashing.
Together with our members and organizations supporting our activities we are building solid foundations for self-regulation in the area of declarations for “eco” products and services. Our initiative is in line with the European Commission’s activities. In addition, as part of the Green Project, we carry out promotional and educational activities focused on topics related to responsibility and protection of our planet. In 2021, we have been working to introduce an annex to the Code of Ethics in Advertising dedicated to ethical advertising and communication in this respect.
Greenwashing is marketing communication of a company or advertising communication of a brand based on false or misleading declarations regarding the compliance of the company’s activities, products or their elements with the principles of environmental protection.
Almost 50% of the declarations using the term “eco” turn out to be false and dishonest from the point of view of European Union law. In almost 40% of the cases, companies have used vague, unspecified terms associated with the word “eco” (data from a survey conducted by the European Commission in 2020).
Advertisements cannot undermine public trust in correctly performed activities undertaken within the framework of natural environment protection.
Advertisements cannot exploit the lack of knowledge of their recipients in the area of natural environment protection.
Advertisements cannot contain a message which might mislead the consumers as to environmental protection, including but not limited to through misleading information on characteristics of products or on activities undertaken by the advertiser for environmental protection. Advertisements of entrepreneurs related to specific products or actions cannot without justified grounds extend the advertising effect in the area of natural environment protection to the whole business of the advertiser.
An environmental claim must relate to the characteristics of the advertised product and must refer to such characteristics of such product that exist throughout the product life or periodically, but in the latter case the advertisement must inform the recipient thereof.
Advertisements containing general phrases such as “environmentally friendly” or “ecologically safe” cannot be misleading. The information indicating the precise effect of the product in this area must be available at the point of sale, enclosed to the product or shall be presented to the beneficiary in a publicly accessible way.
1. When advertisements refer to the reduction the quantity (number) of components or elements having an environmental impact, such information cannot be misleading. The information indicating the precise positive effect of the product in this area must be true and available at the point of sale or enclosed to the product and shall be presented to the beneficiary.
2. Advertising claims cannot refer to the absence of components, features or impacts that are not applicable to the given product category.
3. An advertising claim of “…free”, or of the same effect, should only be made when the level of the specified substance does not exceed that of an acknowledged trace contaminant or background level.
4. Environmental signs or symbols should only be used when the source of origin (granting or appointing) these signs or symbols is clearly indicated in advertisement, and there is no confusion over their meaning. Such signs and symbols should not falsely suggest that their presence is related to a decision of a government administration authority, local government authority, or other institutions the activity of which is connected with natural environment protection.
Environmental claims referring to waste handling are acceptable provided that the recommended method of separation, collection, processing or disposal is available for a significant part of the beneficiaries. Otherwise, the extent and method of obtaining access to the above-described methods should be indicated.