The Advertising Association promotes the role and rights of responsible advertising and its value to people, society, businesses and the economy. We represent UK advertisers, agencies and brands on behalf of the entire industry, acting as the connection between industry professionals and the politicians and policy-makers.

The Advertising Association focuses on major industry and policy areas that have huge ramifications on UK advertising. This section contains our work around Brexit, HFSS and gambling advertising, data and e-privacy, trust, the digital charter and our Industrial Strategy campaigns.

Front Foot is our industry’s member network of over 50 businesses across UK advertising. It aims to promote the role of responsible advertising and its value to people, society and the economy through a coalition of senior leaders from advertisers, agencies and media owners.

Become A Member

Membership offers a range of exclusive benefits, from early access to Credos research to invitations to exclusive networking events. The Front Foot network helps us shape the annual agenda and means members are at the forefront of the latest thinking and industry initiatives of value to their businesses.

We run a number of events throughout the year, from our annual LEAD summit to the Media Business Course and regular breakfast briefings for our members. We are also the official UK representative for the world’s biggest festival of creativity – Cannes Lions.

Climate Change and Advertising Regulation

/ October 6th 2020
Action 5 Resources Ad Net Zero

All advertising is subject to the CAP Codes and ASA jurisdiction, as well as the law. Environmental claims have long been the subject of CAP’s attention, with a dedicated section of rules and numerous advice notes and updated guidance.

Individual rules cover the need for clarity, substantiation and evidence, recycling claims, the basis for any ‘greener’ comparisons and the question of products’ full lifecycles. Specific advice exists for utilities and energy companies, and for car marketers – especially regarding claims for electric or hybrid models. All this to preclude ‘greenwashing’ and unfair or misleading claims.

But the ASA has now committed to a broader review of its responsibilities in this context. “In the light of growing concerns around climate change and the human impact on the environment”, it states, “we will explore the role that advertising regulation can play in responding to that challenge”, as well as reducing its own carbon footprint.

What does this mean? That it is exploring how far its use of proactive, tech-assisted regulation, its advice and training work, and its review of standards as outside legislative and regulatory initiatives develop, can enhance its effectiveness.

Because, of course, the ASA is not alone in this. The Competition & Markets Authority has homed in on the issue, declaring it “essential that we act in a way which supports the transition to a low carbon economy”, in light of the UK “working to become climate-neutral by 2050”. Specifically, in their consumer protection role, the CMA has undertaken to “improve our understanding of ‘green’ claims made by sellers to consumers and, where appropriate, we will make use of our powers to correct false or misleading statements to that effect”. (footnote reference to CMA’s Annual Plan 2020-2021)

Similarly, The European Commission is embarking on a consultation on environmental claims and helping consumers make more confidently sustainable choices.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market & Consumer Protection has advocated new restrictions on advertising, stronger penalties for misleading green claims and a tax on advertising to offset its negative effects.

Against this background of heightened concern and activity, developing the UK’s advertising codes seems a natural element of the move to a more environmentally responsible advertising market.

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