ACCC Puts an End to Greenwashing

Misleading environmental claims by Australian companies are now a top government priority.

During 2022, the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) completed a broad internet sweep of Australian company websites. The startling discovery they made was that 57% of those companies were making misleading environmental claims.

A cardboard factory being painted green

ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said, “As consumers become more environmentally conscious, businesses need to be honest and transparent when making environmental or sustainability claims, so consumers are not being misled.”

“False or misleading claims can undermine consumer trust in all green claims, particularly when consumers are often paying higher prices based on these claims.”

“Similarly, businesses that are taking genuine steps to adopt sustainable practices are put at a competitive disadvantage by businesses that engage in ‘greenwashing’ without incurring the same costs.”

In order to deal with the surprisingly large number of businesses which were seen to have been providing misleading information to customers, the ACCC has made ‘consumer, product safety, fair trading and competition concerns in relation to environmental claims and sustainability’ a top priority for 2023-2024.

A new draft guidance document now sets out good practice measures in the form of eight practical principles for businesses to apply when making environmental claims. At the same time, the document makes companies aware of their obligations in this area with regard to Australian Consumer Law.

Public consultation on the draft guidance recently closed which means we can now expect the definitive guidance to be backed by ACCC’s robust enforcement strategy.

If you would like advice and guidance on any area of product compliance in relation to environmental claims, please contact us.

This communication (including any attachment) has been prepared by BWES and is based on the available information at the time of publication and is believed to be true and accurate. The information contained in this communication should be used as a guide only and may cease to apply if applicable regulation or the product’s design or application is altered. BWES does not take responsibility for any Injury, Loss for damage suffered by any party’s interpretation or decisions made by any party on the information provided in this communication.