Australia’s Watchdog Greenwashing Businesses

Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will reportedly pursue businesses that practice ‘greenwashing’ tactics as a priority in 2023.

Greenwashing is a term used to describe the practices of businesses that promote their services or products as ethical or environmentally friendly with little substance or evidence to support these claims.

According to many marketing experts, modern consumers are increasingly socially conscious when it comes to spending and tend to favour businesses who emphasise the importance of social responsibility or the sustainability of products.

This has led to businesses making claims about the characteristics of their products or services which are untrue in a bid to profit from this consumer ‘activism.’ This is typically done via the use of misleading language, broad terms that are difficult to verify, and occasionally outright falsehoods.

ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said the champion of consumer law wouldn’t hesitate to prosecute any business found to be in breach of trade law via greenwashing.

“As consumers become increasingly interested in purchasing sustainable products, there are growing concerns that some businesses are falsely promoting their environmental or green credentials,” she said.

“Many businesses have raised concerns with the lack of a common definition or standard for terms such as ‘biodegradable’, ‘recyclable’ and ‘compostable’ as there is no benchmark for which a product’s performance should be measured against.”

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