Guidelines proposed for green product claims

UK voluntary code aims to reduce consumer confusion and scepticism

UK environment minister John Gummer has proposed a national code of practice on "green claims" about consumer products. A 1996 report by the semi-official National Consumer Council found that misleading, vague or irrelevant claims of "environmental friendliness" were widespread, leading to confusion among consumers and scepticism about "green" products. Mr Gummer said today that the aim of the proposal was not to close off green claims but to encourage them. The proposed scheme would be voluntary. Mr Gummer said that it demands a flexible approach which the rigid straitjacket of legislation makes impossible. The National Consumer Council disagrees, and wants companies that breach the code to face tough penalties.

Follow Up:
Department of the Environment, tel: + 44 171 276 0544.

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