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ACCC releases eight-point guide to avoid greenwashing

Manufacturing News

Following a sweep of questionable product claims and releasing draft guidance in July, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has published final guidance on avoiding misleading environmental marketing and advertising claims.

The set of eight principles convey “ACCC’s view of good practice when making environmental claims”, and tell businesses of their obligations under consumer law, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

They are:

  1. Make accurate and truthful claims
  2. Have evidence to back up your claims
  3. Don’t hide or omit important information
  4. Explain any conditions or qualifications on your claims
  5. Avoid broad and unqualified claims
  6. Use clear and easy-to-understand language
  7. Visual elements should not give the wrong impression
  8. Be direct and open about your sustainability transition

“As we transition to a greener economy, we need businesses to drive market innovation by investing in and choosing products and services with the lowest environmental impact,” said ACCC Acting Chair Catriona Lowe.

“For consumers to drive change, they need to be able to trust that the products and services they are buying genuinely are sustainable, and businesses making real efforts to deliver benefits should not be disadvantaged by rivals making disingenuous claims.”

A sweep by the ACCC in October and November 2022 found 57 per cent of companies reviewed “were identified as having made concerning claims about their environmental credentials.” 

Cosmetic, clothing and footwear and food and drink sectors were mentioned as having the highest proportion of concerning claims.

The commission added that it will release further guidance on emission and offset claims, as well as the use of trust marks, early next year.

The new Making environmental claims: A guide for business guide can be accessed here.

Picture: credit ACCC

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