The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released new draft guidance aimed at preventing greenwashing and ensuring accurate environmental and sustainability claims by businesses, as reported by The Guardian on July 14. The guidance, consisting of eight principles, emphasizes the importance of accurate, truthful, and verifiable claims that do not exaggerate the environmental benefit of company actions. It also highlights the need for clear, independent, and scientific evidence to support claims and cautions against omitting or concealing information that could impact consumers’ understanding of business practices.
The publication of this guidance follows a study by the ACCC earlier this year, which reveals that 57% of companies examined were making questionable claims about their environmental credentials. As a response, the ACCC plans to conduct education campaigns and revise guidance to increase the credibility of environmental claims. ACCC Chair, Gina Cass-Gottlieb, emphasized that false or misleading claims would not only erode consumer trust but also disadvantage businesses that are genuinely adopt sustainable. Under the draft guidance, penalties for making false or misleading claims could reach up to AUD50m or triple the assessed value of the benefits gained from the violation.