Peru: The Indecopi published the Environmental Advertising Guide for the dissemination of ‘green advertising’ and to avoid ‘greenwashing’

Peru - 

If ‘greenwashing’ is identified, the authority will impose a sanction ranging from a reprimand to a fine.

The National Institute for the Defense of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (Indecopi) has published the final version of the Environmental Advertising Guide in the framework of green advertising strategies, the purpose of which is to encourage the sale of products that have a positive impact on the environment or that reduce the negative impact on it.

However, certain advertising practices have been identified to use misrepresented or exaggerated messages regarding the environmental impact of different products or services. Such illegal practices are known as greenwashing.

In order to face greenwashing, the guide sets out the five principles of green advertising. The first of these is truthfulness, which means that objective claims about the product or service advertised must be supported by up-to-date technical or scientific substantiation that has been issued prior to the dissemination of the advertisement. The second principle lies in the clarity of the information provided to the consumer and the market, avoiding imprecision about the reality of the product or service. The third principle refers to the relevance of conveying to the consumer information that is relevant and directly related to the product. Finally, the fourth and fifth principles relate to transparency of information to the consumer and fairness in making comparisons on objective attributes that are true, accurate and relevant.

Thus, the characteristics invoked in advertising, such as "organic", "ecological", "native", "sustainable", "produced in an environmentally friendly way", "compostable", "biodegradable", "chemical-free", and others that are advertised for a product, must comply with the five principles mentioned above. Failure to do so could lead to a misleading perception of its positive impact on the environment.

The guide recommends that objective claims should be supported by dated means of proof issued by external and independent entities (i.e. accredited certification companies), which validate the veracity of the information and data claimed (i.e. laboratory reports, technical data sheets, certifications, certificates of conformity, validations issued in favour of manufacturers, among others).

Greenwashing is supervised by Indecopi and, if identified, the authority will impose a sanction that could range from a reprimand (warning) to a maximum fine of 700 UIT (approximately 3.5 million soles), provided that it does not exceed 10% of the gross income of all the offender's economic activities in the immediately preceding fiscal year.