What is Greenwashing?

Nov. 20, 2023

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) recently proposed guidelines that aim to check Greenwashing in ads.

About Greenwashing:

  • What is it? It is the process of conveying a false impression or misleading information about how a company’s products are environmentally sound.
  • Greenwashing involves making an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company’s products are environmentally friendly or have a greater positive environmental impact than they actually do.
  • In addition, greenwashing may occur when a company attempts to emphasize sustainable aspects of a product to overshadow its involvement in environmentally damaging practices. 
  • Companies can also greenwash initiatives with vague claims that don't provide real data or scientific validation for the claims.
  • For example, a car vendor claims that a vehicle is eco-friendly because it is more fuel-efficient while failing to mention or consider the larger industrial impact of vehicle manufacturing on the environment.

Key Facts about the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI):

  • It is a voluntary self-regulatory organisation of the advertising industry in India.
  • Established in 1985, ASCI is registered as a non-profit company under Section 25 of the Company Act.
  • It comprises members from marketing, creative, media, and allied companies in India.
  • It is committed to the cause of self-regulation in advertising, ensuring the protection of the interests of consumers. 
  • ASCI seeks to ensure that advertisements conform to its Code for Self-Regulation, which requires advertisements to be legal, decent, honest, truthful, and not hazardous or harmful while observing fairness in competition. 
  • It looks into complaints across all media, such as Print, TV, Radio, hoardings, SMS, Emailers, Internet/website, product packaging, brochures, promotional material, and point-of-sale material, etc.
  • It is a part of the Executive Committee of the International Council on Ad Self-Regulation (ICAS).