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ACCC forms new taskforce to target greenwashing

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) plans to continue its pursuit of businesses making fraudulent claims about the ‘environmentally friendly’ nature of products, launching a new taskforce.

The ACCC’s focus on environmental claims and sustainability will broaden beyond consumer and fair trading issues to include competition law and product safety considerations.

ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said that unfounded claims about environmentalism don’t just harm consumers, they also harm businesses.

“We’ve established a new internal taskforce focused on sustainability that will build our expertise, inform and coordinate our efforts across the agency,” she said.

“In particular the taskforce will examine and seek to influence a range of issues where environmental and sustainability issues intersect with the application of competition and consumer law, including product safety.”

"Unfounded claims about environmentalism don’t just harm consumers, they also harm businesses."
Gina Cass-Gottlieb, ACCC

In October-November of the past year, ACCC completed a sweep of businesses and of the 247 reviewed, 57 per cent were identified as having made potentially misleading claims.

“The ACCC can play a role by ensuring businesses tell the truth about the environmental impacts of the goods and services they supply. 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,” Cass-Gottlieb said.

"Misleading claims about environmental or sustainability credentials have an impact right across the economy. Consumers, shareholders, and governments are looking for legitimate change not ‘smoke and mirrors’ when it comes to environmental initiatives implemented by businesses.”

The ACCC plans to confirm its annual product safety priorities at the National Consumer Congress.

More reading
Greenwashing crackdown results troubling
Australian competition regulator targeting greenwashing businesses


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