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New Defra Green Claim Guideline

In February 2011 Defra launched the new guidance for green claims. The 43 page report reinforces findings from previous versions and highlights the key issues for companies making environmental claims.

The guidance is an attempt to help the growing environmental market in the UK, as many businesses still seem to be misled by inappropriate practices.

The most recent Carbon Trust Standard survey found that 59% were sceptical about businesses’ environmental claims. 

In this context, Defra is encouraging any business selling, marketing or advertising products and services to use the guidance as a way of increasing brand reputation, reinforcing consumer confidence and developing internal communication principles.

For Lord Henley, Minister of Environment, the Defra Green Claims Guidance ‘’ will make things easier for both business and consumers- helping restore faith public in environmental advertising and acting as a resource for companies developing more sustainable products’’.

Communicating Emission Reductions and Carbon Neutrality 

Defra dedicates a section of the report to communicating carbon neutrality. "Good’’ and  ‘’bad’’ examples of reporting on emission reductions are given, focusing on the need to talk specifically about how emission reductions are being acheived and the level of reductions that they have created.

In terms of claiming offsets, the report states that organisations should give a brief explanation of core activities being offset, types of offsets purchased and the offset company used. They also recommend that footprinting should be completed and offsets should be purchased through a company that has been certified by the UK Government Quality Assurance Scheme.

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