The new environmental guidelines we mentioned earlier in the week have been released. A press release from the competition bureau states:

Environmental Claims: A Guide for Industry and Advertisers addresses a number of commonly used green claims and provides examples of best practices on how such claims can be used by businesses to comply with the false or misleading provisions of the laws enforced by the Competition Bureau. Among other practices, the Guide states that:

  • The use of vague claims implying general environmental improvement are insufficient and should be avoided.
  • Environmental claims should be clear, specific, accurate and not misleading.
  • Environmental claims should be verified and substantiated, prior to being made.

…The Bureau recognizes companies may wish to reassess their advertising and labelling in light of the Guide. A one-year transition phase will allow legitimate businesses to change their marketing practices, if necessary, and will also allow the Bureau and CSA to raise awareness and understanding on the new environmental guidelines.

During this one-year transition period, the Bureau will not hesitate to pursue egregious cases of deceptive environmental claims.

Although the Guide is not law, following the best practices outlined will help businesses to avoid making misleading claims that contravene the laws enforced by the Bureau. The Guide will be used by the Bureau to assess environmental advertising that raise concerns under its legislative mandate.

Click on the above link for the full press release.

We highly encourage our colleagues and clients to ensure that their labels comply with the guidelines. A PDF copy of the guidlines is available here (PDF).