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Marketing communications must not omit material information. In some cases, it is possible to use alternative means to make the information readily accessible.
Omitting claims can also alter the decision the consumer makes. These types of omissions happen when claims focus on one aspect but not on others. It can be intentional or not, however, it is essential that the company or agency focuses on environmental information that consumers need to make decisions. This information about environmental impacts must be reflected in the claims they make.
When consumers make informed decisions, they consider a range of factors that will influence their final choice. In many cases, as we are moving towards a low-carbon economy, the environmental factor becomes prominent.
The identified decision factors relate to the sourcing of the material, the production process and methods used, the packaging, transportation and disposal of products.
Similar problems arise when making claims about the carbon neutrality targets of a product or business. The claim should be as clear as possible in terms of what and how they are making efforts in that regard as these concepts are not always understood by the general public. For example, it should be clear whether they are taking active steps towards lowering their carbon emissions, or if they’re just offsetting their carbon emissions.
Depending on the way a claim is made, there may be some limitations on the amount of information that can be included. That does not, however, give businesses a justification simply to omit or hide important information about environmental impacts. The missing information should give clear and transparent access to any additional information necessary to make a fair and informed decision (e.g. a link to a website).