The Earth’s climate emergency and environmental crisis 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’ve launched our own Climate Change and the Environment project.

You can find out more about what is happening by following the project update links below as well as further links to rulings, advice and news.

Why have we undertaken the project?

Issues such as climate change, deforestation, pollution, dwindling natural resources and a disastrous loss of biodiversity demonstrates the growing evidence of the damage being done to our climate. In recent times, it appears society has woken up to the scale of the crisis and is demanding tougher action. With this in mind, our strategy commits us to exploring the role that advertising regulation can play in responding to the climate change emergency and environmental challenge.

What have we been doing?

CAP and BCAP have published guidance to assist with interpreting CAP and BCAP’s rules that concern environment-related advertising issues. These rules broadly relate to misleading environmental claims and social responsibility. The guidance includes a general overview of the principles that underpin the rules, which have been applied over decades by the ASA through rulings. This guidance sets out the existing principles of the ASA system’s regulation of environmental claims.

Since the publication of this guidance in 2021, the ASA has carried out a number of significant formal investigations into ads that contained environmental claims.  The guidance has now been updated to include descriptions of the rulings that resulted from these investigations, which set a precedent for how the rules are applied.

Advertising plays a role in influencing consumer behaviour and expectations are rising for businesses to play a more prominent role in encouraging responsible consumer consumption behaviours.   The ASA and CAP have an important role to play in helping businesses rise to the challenge, and in ensuring that consumers can trust environmental claims in ads.

In September 2021 we published a statement on the regulation of environmental claims and issues in advertising, including details of the work we'd done, and what we were looking to do in the future. Since then, we undertook the following initiatives:

Research into consumer perceptions of “carbon neutral” and “net zero” claims, as well as perceptions of claims made in the electric vehicle market

Enquiries into specific issues guided by the Climate Change Committee’s identified priority areas requiring consumer behaviour change and carbon reduction. The first two issues we focused on were ‘heating/energy’ and ‘transport’.

Production of an eLearning module that covers the CAP Code rules on environmental claims and social responsibility.  This module will be accessible in the eLearning section of our website, and is expected to be available from October 2022.