Peters & Peters

French advertising body finds L’Éponge Verte adverts misleading

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Key facts:

In January 2022, the JDP received a complaint in respect of advertisements by L’Eponge Verte (ie, the green sponge) promoting its domestic cleaning sponges. The wording in question stated that the sponges were “100% eco-responsible and certified Oeko-Tex” and “perfect for a zero-waste everyday life”.

The complainant argued:

  • the wording was inappropriate since the sponges are partly made of microfibres, which is a synthetic material, and therefore derived from petroleum;
  • the company’s website states that the consumption of its sponges is five times less, but they are nonetheless dispoable. Further, they are not sold individually, but in packs of five;
  • apart from the Oeko-Tex mention, there is no detail on the precise composition of the sponge, its origin or manufacturing conditions to prove its eco-credentials;
  • therefore the advertisement contravenes paragraph 7.3 of the ARPP recommendation and the “100% eco-responsible claim” amounts to greenwashing.

The JDP stated that it is competent to rule on any advertising complaint, whether the advertiser is a member of the ARPP or not (as was the case of l’Eponge Verte).

It stated that the advertisement uses wording that promotes the sponges as being washable and reusable. However, they necessarily degrade and are eventually thrown away as waste, which contributes to pollute the planet, together with their manufacturing and distribution.

The disputed allegations are therefore likely to be misleading, in contravention of points 1 to 3 of the “Sustainable Development” Recommendation. The “eco-responsible” claim also constitutes an “unjustified and not relativized global formulation”, in contravention of point 7 of the Recommendation.

Source(s):

JDP opinion

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