More than half of the businesses reviewed during a recent internet sweep had made concerning claims about their environmental or sustainability practices.

The sweep, part of the ACCC’s crackdown on greenwashing, found that of the 247 businesses reviewed, 57 percent were identified as making concerning claims.

The cosmetics, clothing and footwear and food and drinks sectors had the highest proportion of concerning claims amongst the industries targeted.

The ACCC says it will be following up on these questionable claims.

“Our sweep indicates a significant proportion of businesses are making vague or unclear environmental claims. This warrants further scrutiny,” said ACCC deputy chairman, Catriona Lowe.

Lowe said that consumers are increasingly basing their purchasing decisions on environmental grounds, and that false or misleading claims not only harm consumers, but also businesses working to implement and promote their genuinely sustainable practices.

“Businesses using broad claims like ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ are obliged to back up these claims through reliable scientific reports, transparent supply chain information, reputable third-party certification or other forms of evidence,” she said.

“Where we have concerns, we will be asking businesses to substantiate their claims.”

The ACCC will also be conducting a range of education activities with businesses, including updating economy-wide guidance material, in addition to targeted guidance for specific sectors.

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