More than half of businesses claim ‘false’ green credentials
Following its internet sweep late last year targeting greenwashing, the ACCC will be investigating a number of businesses which made ‘concerning’ claims about their environmental or sustainability practices.
Of the 247 businesses reviewed during the sweep, 57 per cent were identified as having made such claims about their environmental credentials.
“Our sweep indicates a significant proportion of businesses are making vague or unclear environmental claims,” ACCC deputy chair, Catriona Lowe, says.
“This warrants further scrutiny. Consumers are now, more than ever, making purchasing decisions on environmental grounds. Unfortunately, it appears that rather than making legitimate changes to their practices and procedures, some businesses are relying on false or misleading claims. This conduct harms not only consumers, but also those businesses taking genuine steps to implement more sustainable practices.”
Businesses using claims like ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ are obliged to back up these claims through reliable scientific reports, transparent supply chain information, reputable third-party certification or other forms of evidence.
“The sweep has helped inform our forthcoming guidance about what steps businesses need to take to improve the integrity of their environmental claims.”
The ACCC will also conduct a range of education activities with businesses including updating economy-wide guidance material, in addition to targeted guidance for specific sectors.
“We want to see businesses taking steps to ensure that environmental claims are accurate as well as meaningful for consumers. Our sweep has shown that claims are most useful where they are relevant, clear, reliable and transparent.”