ACCC greenwashing sweep unearths ‘widespread’ suspicious claims

ACCC greenwashing suspicious claims
Too many brands are making suspicious claims about their sustainability credentials, suggests ACCC. (Source: Bigstock)

A ‘greenwashing’ internet sweep by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has exposed a significant proportion of businesses making “concerning” environmental claims.

The regulator assessed 247 businesses and found about 57 per cent had made “concerning claims” about their environmental credentials.

ACCC deputy chair, Catriona Lowe, said consumers are now 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.”

Of those reviewed, cosmetics, clothing and footwear, food and drink sectors were found to have the highest proportion of concerning claims.

“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,” said Lowe.

She added the regulator will “engage directly” with businesses and industry associations to improve compliance with the Australian Consumer Law.

ACCC will also conduct a range of educational activities with businesses involving updating economy-wide guidance material as well as offering targeted guidance for specific sectors.