ACCC Greenwashing Probe Uncovers ‘Widespread’ Concerns

ACCC Greenwashing Probe Uncovers ‘Widespread’ Concerns

The ACCC in October launched a campaign to identify deceptive advertising and marketing practices by businesses or industries, an act known as ‘greenwashing’. Following this ‘internet sweep’, the watchdog has today announced it will be doing some investigating.

“Our sweep indicates a significant proportion of businesses are making vague or unclear environmental claims. This warrants further scrutiny,” ACCC deputy chair Catriona Lowe said.

“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.”

Of the 247 businesses the ACCC reviewed during the greenwashing sweep, 57 per cent were identified as “having made concerning claims about their environmental credentials”.

Lowe said businesses using broad 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. So now, the ACCC will be asking businesses to substantiate their claims.

“Already, we have several active investigations underway across the packaging, consumer goods, food manufacturing and medical devices sectors for alleged misleading environmental claims and these may grow, as we continue to conduct more targeted assessments into businesses and claims identified through the sweep,” she added.

“We will take enforcement action where it is appropriate to do so as it is critical that consumer trust in green claims is not undermined.”

While all industries are on notice, the ACCC said the cosmetic, clothing and footwear and food and drink sectors were found to have the highest proportion of concerning claims among the industries targeted in the operation.

The sweep, Lowe said, has helped inform the ACCC’s forthcoming guidance about what steps businesses need to take to improve the integrity of their environmental claims. But before this is published, she said the consumer watchdog will be engaging directly with businesses and industry associations to improve compliance with the Australian Consumer Law.”

This article has been updated since it was first published.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.