Government takes more steps to monitor green claims

Government is continuing with plans to pin down definitions used by the business community when describing green activities to prevent misleading claims.

In mid February, Government announced plans to re-work its guidance on how companies must justify claims of ‘green-ness’ they make for their products and services.

Now it has unveiled two similar initiatives to reassure consumers that when they buy green, they get green.

The first is a kitemark for carbon offsetting schemes, which have in the past come under fire for offering wildly varying levels of service, with some promising to offset emissions by buying up carbon credits from globally recognised schemes while others have been rather more vague about how the money will be spent.

The second is the launch of a consultation paper looking at the definition of carbon neutrality.

Minister for Energy and Climate Change Joan Ruddock said: “Information for consumers needs to be crystal clear and people need to have confidence that their money is put to good use.

“This new [carbon offsetting] quality mark – developed with the industry – aims to improve transparency and give confidence to people wanting to offset their travel.

“Everyone should look for opportunities to reduce their emissions. Where we can’t avoid emissions, offsetting offers a means of taking responsibility for them”.

Offsetting companies using the quality mark on their products will need to have registered with the government scheme and will have demonstrated that their projects are compliant with Kyoto standards to offer genuine, additional, measurable carbon savings, thus bringing consistency and transparency to the market place.

David Gibbs

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