Our work on Climate Change and Environmental Claims

Our latest Climate Change and Environmental research

As part of our ongoing Climate Change and Environment project, we've turned our attention to 'green disposal claims'. We've published ASA research on people's understanding of green disposal terminology, such as 'recycled', 'biodegradable' and 'compostable'. 

Our research shows that people want to play their part for the environment by disposing of things in a 'green' way, but there can be a lack of understanding about how to do so. 

Find out more by reading the research in full now. 

Who we are, and what we do

The ASA has a long track record in tackling problematic environmental claims, including issues like greenwashing and other forms of misleading and socially irresponsible green claims. 

We’ve had dedicated environmental rules for around forty years, and we believe we can credibly claim to have done as much as any UK regulator in dealing with misleading green claims.

This resource hub gives you an overview of the work we've already done, as well as our approach for the work we still have left to do.

Our environmental rules

The ASA applies the Advertising Codes, which are written by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP and BCAP), to advertising across all different types of media.

There are different sections that apply to environmental claims and social responsibility.

There is a section in each Code which deals with environmental claims. As well as the section dedicated to environmental rules, both Codes also have a section that has rules to ensure ads are not misleading. These rules will apply to ads that feature environmental claims along with other rules that ensure ads are socially responsible.

Read more about our environmental rules.

Advice and resources on the environment

In addition to the rules, we also have an extensive amount of guidance and advice on numerous topics on our website.

CAP has put together guidance that is intended to help marketers and agencies interpret CAP and BCAP’s rules that concern environment-related advertising issues.  

Our new e-learning module on Climate Change and the Environment covers the fundamental principles that advertisers need to be aware of when making environmental claims, or when their ads include depictions of their environmental impact. 

We also have many advice articles covering environmental issues. Some of the articles that deal with environmental issues are –

Read more about our advice and resources on environmental issues.

Environmental rulings

The ASA may carry out a formal investigation, for complex issues, or a potential serious breach of the Advertising Codes. The ASA Council decides whether or not there has been a breach of the Codes and will issue the final ruling.

For example, in October 2022 the ASA considered ads for a bank were misleading by omitting material information that would affect a consumers’ understanding of the overall message. While the ASA acknowledged that the initiatives highlighted in the ads were environmentally beneficial, the advertiser was continuing to significantly finance investments in businesses and industries that emitted notable levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses. (HSBC UK Bank plc, 19 October 2022).

Find out more about our environmental rulings.

Climate change and the Environment project

The Earth’s climate emergency is a global issue that impacts all areas of society, and therefore every organisation has a role to play in shaping the future of our planet.

This is why we launched our own Climate Change and the Environment project, to shine a brighter regulatory spotlight on ads that touch on the environment. This project signals our commitment to taking a tough line on ads that mislead or which are socially irresponsible where we identify issues with them.

We published an update about this project work in June 2022. This was followed by the publication of our research findings on consumer understanding of environmental claims in October. These findings have informed our updated Advertising Guidance on The environment: misleading claims and social responsibility in advertising. We also launched our brand new e-learning module on Climate Change and the Environment.

Read more about our project work.

External links

As well as our own work, other organisations are working on similar projects at this time. The CMA and Advertising Association are just two of those that are looking at environmental issues.

Ad Green unites the advertising industry to eliminate the negative environmental impacts of production.

The Advertising Association have launched their Ad Net Zero initiative. The plan commits the ad industry to influence the creative content of ads to promote more sustainable messages. The ASA have contributed training material about our rules to their online training module, which has been made widely available to advertising industry professionals

The ASA has also worked closely with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), who launched their own enquiry into this subject. The CMA have produced their Green Claims Code, which they consulted with the ASA on.

Find out more about other organisations and their work.

Further advice

As mentioned above, we have lots of advice in this area for advertisers, and we have been ruling on environmental claims in advertising for decades. But we appreciate that this area is constantly changing. So if the information below doesn’t cover the specific environmental claim that you wish to make and you want to check if it is within the rules, do get in touch with the Copy Advice team who can provide free, swift advice. These claims matter.

Don't just be seen to be green, mean to be green.



Please login!

Please confirm!


Want to make sure your ads are right first time? Get helpful advice and tips by signing up to our newsletter.