UK consumers are being urged by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) to become ‘active sustainable consumers’ by checking out the green credentials of companies they buy from. The message went out as World Consumer Rights Day took place on 15 March 2020.

CTSI is urging UK consumers to follow these top tips to become ‘active sustainable consumers’:

  • think before you buy! Sending back online purchases causes unnecessary waste and C02 emissions
  • be aware of unscrupulous traders who sometimes advertise products with false green credentials
  • when flying use a digital boarding pass
  • book a hotel that has a plastics-free policy
  • offset your carbon footprint by supporting environmental projects
  • get repairs on faulty items rather than replacements

Service Director at the UK European Consumer Centre consumer advice service, Andy Allen, said: “Arguably the biggest change to shopping in the 21st century has seen the increased popularity of online shopping. The UK ECC supported World Consumer Rights Day by encouraging all UK consumers to think: shopping in the EU and closer to home is more sustainable than having products shipped from all over the world.”

False environmental claims by advertisers – known as ‘greenwashing’ – can become more prominent when advertisers scramble to be seen as green

Lead Officer for Fair Trading at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, Sylvia Rook, said:

"Businesses are becoming more aware of their impact on the planet, but this has led to unscrupulous traders sometimes advertising products with false green credentials.  We would urge consumers to look carefully at the descriptions of the items they are buying, particularly if they are purchasing online from companies based too far overseas. If you are suspicious about a green claim, then consider buying elsewhere, preferably from a retailer closer to home, where the carbon footprint is less.  In addition, if you think advertising is misleading, contact Trading Standards who can investigate potentially false green claims."

For information on ASA rulings regarding advertising rules and environmental claims: