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  • Writer's pictureMegan Coslett

Making Green Claims in Healthcare: How to Do It Right



With the NHS increasingly focusing on suppliers providing evidence of sustainable and ethical production processes, there is a new focus on not just product claims but also 'Green claims'.


Green claims are powerful tools that can set your brand apart in an eco-conscious world. 


But what are green claims, and how can you make them exciting and compliant in the healthcare industry? 


Let’s explore environmental marketing and discover how to captivate your audience while remaining within healthcare regulations.


What are Green Claims?

Green claims, or environmental claims, are bold statements that suggest your healthcare product, service, brand, or business is good for the planet. 


Imagine labelling your medical device or healthcare service as "eco-friendly" or "sustainable"—these terms can attract the growing number of consumers who care deeply about the environment. 

But there's a catch: these claims must be genuine and well-supported.


Navigating the UK’s Advertising Landscape

The UK advertising industry is strongly associated with self-regulation, ensuring that advertisements are truthful and not misleading. Here’s how it works:


  1. Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP): This body crafts the advertising codes.

  2. Advertising Standards Agency (ASA): This independent regulator enforces these codes, ensuring ads are compliant.


The CAP and BCAP Codes outline non-broadcast and broadcast advertising rules, respectively. Both codes include special rules for environmental claims, ensuring they are clear, informative, and not misleading.


Rules for Green Claims: Keep It Real and Reliable


  1. Substantiate Your Claims: If you claim your healthcare product or service is "eco-friendly" or "the best," you need solid evidence to back it up. Think of it as proving your green credentials with robust data and facts.

  2. Life Cycle Consideration: Your green claims should consider the product’s entire life cycle—from production to disposal. If not, you must clearly state the limits. For instance, it’s not enough to say a medical device is eco-friendly if only its packaging is sustainable.

  3. Scientific Consensus: If there's a split in scientific opinion about your claim, don’t imply it’s universally accepted. Misleading consumers can backfire spectacularly.

  4. Honesty About Improvements: Don’t suggest that a healthcare product has become more eco-friendly if it never had an adverse impact to begin with. Transparency is key.


The Green Claims Code: Your Guide to Honest Marketing


The Green Claims Code, introduced by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in 2021, is your roadmap to making credible environmental claims. Here are its six principles:


  1. Claims must be truthful and accurate.

  2. Claims must be clear and unambiguous.

  3. Claims must not omit or hide important relevant information.

  4. Comparisons must be fair and meaningful.

  5. Claims must consider the full life cycle of the product or service.

  6. Claims must be substantiated.


Aqua Pura - A Case Study in Compliance


Consider Aqua Pura’s recent experience. Their ad claimed their bottles were "100% recycled & recyclable" with an "eco-friendly cap." Sounds great, right? 


The ASA, however, found these claims misleading because not all components were made from recycled materials. The cap and label, made from new plastic, contradicted their eco-friendly message.


This case is a powerful reminder: substantiation and transparency are essential. Misleading claims can damage your reputation and erode consumer trust.


Why It Matters in Healthcare


Green claims can significantly boost your healthcare brand’s appeal and align you with eco-conscious consumers. But remember, with great power comes great responsibility. 


Ensuring your claims are accurate and well-supported keeps you compliant and builds trust and loyalty among your audience.


At AGENCY, we are dedicated to helping you navigate the exciting world of green marketing in healthcare. We ensure your environmental claims are robust, transparent, and compelling, giving your healthcare brand the green light to shine brightly in a competitive market.


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