The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced an internet sweep targeting businesses making unsubstantiated sustainability claims.
As previously reported in Future Alternative, ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard signalled the Commission’s intention to target businesses “falsely promoting environmental or green credentials” at an address at the Sydney Sustainability Summit last month.
True to its word, the consumer watchdog has launched a sweep of the internet that will actively monitor “greenwashing” in the Australian consumer market. The action is targeted at identifying businesses that are making misleading claims about their environmental credentials, but also aims to inform guidelines for businesses that will bolster the integrity of their environmental claims.
Over 200 company websites from various industries will be targeted in the sweep, which will look at the advertising claims of businesses producing and selling “energy, vehicles, household products, appliances (and) food and drink packaging” amongst other products.
“In looking at claims we are concerned about what the ordinary consumer will understand the claim to mean. The ACCC won’t hesitate to take enforcement action where we see that consumers are being misled or deceived by green claims,” Rickard said.
The ACCC is also running a concurrent internet sweep targeting online reviews and testimonials. “Businesses can also be significantly impacted, particularly by negative reviews at the hands of competitors or third-party professional reviewers acting on behalf of a business,” Rickard said.
The ACCC will publish the results of the sweeps once they have been collated and analysed. Read our original article for the watchdog’s tips for businesses looking to promote their environmental credentials.