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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published a draft guide on sustainability collaborations, addressing concerns about breaches of competition laws. | Source: Adobe Stock
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published a draft guide on sustainability collaborations, addressing concerns about breaches of competition laws. | Source: Adobe Stock

Australian businesses navigate sustainability minefield

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published a draft guide on sustainability collaborations, addressing concerns about breaches of competition laws.

The paper is designed to assist businesses in navigating the complexities of competition laws when working in partnerships to address environmental outcomes.

Acting chair Mick Keogh said that it is also available to facilitate these agreements even if there are potential competition concerns.

“As Australia transforms to a more sustainable economy, there will be instances where businesses seek to work together to achieve better environmental outcomes,” he said.

“When businesses work together, they sometimes risk breaching competition law, but legal protection via an ACCC authorisation may be available so that they can pursue their goals without that risk.”

He added: “We have a clear legal mandate to take sustainability benefits into account when considering how best to promote competition and advance the interests of consumers.”

In recent years, the ACCC has cracked down on businesses making fraudulent claims about products' ‘environmentally friendly’ nature.

Sustainability has been a hot topic in the jewellery industry for several years. In April, a spokesperson for Michael Hill International addressed the issue of greenwashing, suggesting that consumers should be wary of businesses making claims they cannot support.

Earlier this year, Pandora’s CEO said that sustainability was a ‘nice feature’ for a business; however, it is not a sales driver.

This statement was supported by Jeweller’s 2024 State of the Industry Report when fewer than 2 per cent of retailers said that customers ‘always’ raise concerns about sustainability when shopping.

The ACCC is seeking feedback from businesses and other stakeholders on the draft guide. The consultation closes on 26 July.

More reading
Greenwashing: Michael Hill tackles controversial issue
Jewellery industry survey: Surprising results!
Provenance: Does anyone really care?
Pandora CEO: Sustainability not a priority for consumers
Greenwashing: Lab-created diamond claims questioned
World Wildlife Fund criticises watch and jewellery industry

 











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