I’ve been thinking a lot more lately about the environmental impact of my purchasing decisions. And it’s clear I’m not alone, with UK shoppers spending 4 times as much on ethical goods and services as 20 years ago. But when it comes to trying to decide what the better choices might be, the way some products are marketed seems to be muddying the water.
It’s funny how one adverb can annoy you so much. I’m talking about the ‘currently’ in labels telling me that food packaging is ‘not currently recyclable’. ‘Currently’ to me implies that such packaging will be recyclable soon but, after 10 or more years of seeing this wording on the same products, it clearly doesn’t mean the same to the plastic packaging manufacturers. Unless I am to hoard it all until such a day may come, I’d rather the labels didn’t try to skirt around the fact my waste will most likely go to landfill.
Meanwhile, another colleague of mine takes particular annoyance with some of the claims made by fashion brands and laments a lack of transparent information on the sourcing and production of 'sustainable' ingredients in other products she buys.
We probably won’t be able to tackle all of our personal irritations through the misleading environmental claims project we launched earlier this month (November 2020). However, we hope to ensure that in future we’re all provided with clear and unambiguous wording and signing on packaging, products and services.
What we’re investigating
We’re interested in products and services that are labelled in a clearly misleading way and also in instances where we are perhaps persuaded to buy something because of what is implied.
Some of us would probably think twice before buying products or services if we understood the full environmental cost of their production, or how difficult they would be to recycle. You may also have a sneaking suspicion that the basis used for claiming a product is ‘eco-friendly’ perhaps constitutes only a minor aspect of its overall environmental footprint.
That’s why we are also interested in what information is missing from green marketing claims that could influence our buying behaviour.
We want to hear from all of you
We want to know what concerns you most and what information you would like to see to help you identify and buy the products and services that best reflect your environmental beliefs.
As part of our drive to gather feedback that will help us focus on the issues that matter most to you, we have 3 surveys currently open:
- questionnaire for individual shoppers
- questionnaire for businesses
- questionnaire for other stakeholders with an environmental interest
And when we use the word currently, we are using it in its correct meaning, in that the surveys are only open until 14 December.
So please take a few minutes to let us know what you think, so that we can help improve the ease with which you can buy the products and services that reflect your own personal environmental concerns.
You can also find more information, including any future updates, on our misleading environmental claims page.