The updated ICC Framework for Responsible Environmental Marketing Communications (the ICC Framework), helps marketers evaluate environmental communications in order to maintain consumers’ trust in these claims. Marketers can use ICC Framework to craft messages that promote responsible environmental communication.
Global momentum has grown for climate action, including joint efforts by governments and businesses to reduce the threat of climate change. COP26 witnessed a surge in pledges to achieve net-zero emission by 2050, which is in line with the Paris Agreement goals.
The media, government, consumers and other stakeholders are more concerned about the environmental impact of human activities and how to promote sustainable consumption. There has been an increase in environmental claims on the market as businesses attempt to promote the environmental attributes of products and communicate their climate ambitions to the public. The updated ICC Framework aims to help businesses get these messages right.
Although the principles of good environmental marketing are simple to understand, applying them in new claims and terms that aren’t universally understood and making sense of science and data adds an immense amount of complexity.Sheila Millar, Partner Keller and Heckman and Vice Chair of the ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising, said. The ICC Framework assists companies in mapping this process and provides guidance for self-regulators to refer to when claims are questioned.
The updated ICC Framework addresses new claims that are being made in the marketplace. This includes terms such as net zero, climate neutral, carbon positive, carbon neutral, non-made with fossil fuels, not made of micro-plastics, updated guidance on claims such compostable, biologically degradable, and other. It also discusses standards to address the increasing number of aspirational claims that are becoming more common as more businesses make climate-friendly commitments. Companies communicating aspirational claims to reflect the environmental commitments or climate goals they aim to achieve in future years — such as net-zero by 2050 should be able to concretely demonstrate the methodological approach they are using to enable them to meet those commitments.
The ICC Framework also provides guidance regarding recyclability claims as well the use material identification codes, such as the Mobius Loop.
Even a widely recognized symbol like the Mobius Loop, the so-called chasing Arrow symbol, doesn’t necessarily convey something universally understood to consumers. What does a consumer think this symbol means about the product? It has been recycled Is it recyclable Or both? It is important to be conspicuous and place well.Ms. Millar stated. The ICC Framework is designed for advertisers to help them navigate a review process that focuses on how a consumer might interpret a particular advertisement or claim.
Businesses have access to the ICC Framework’s detailed checklist for creating marketing communications around environmental claims. A chart provides easy reference and interpretations to the relevant provisions of the global Advertising Code and current issues in environmental marketing.
This interpretation can be applied to the national and/or regional codes that are based on ICCs codes. It can also be applied to regional and national marketing codes that are used by self-regulatory organizations to establish best practices for businesses.
The ICC Framework encourages businesses to work together to create sound environmental messaging. It helps to ensure that consumers have confidence in their environmental messages.
Download the ICC Framework for Responsible Environmental Marketing Communications