The ACCC will be investigating a number of businesses for potential ‘greenwashing’, following an internet sweep which found more than half of the businesses reviewed made concerning claims about their environmental or sustainability practices. The Australian Furniture Association is cautioning the industry against making any unsubstantiated claims which could bring their businesses and the industry into disrepute.
Of the 247 businesses reviewed by the ACCC during the sweep, 57 per cent were identified as having made concerning claims about their environmental credentials. The cosmetic, clothing and footwear and food and drink sectors were found to have the highest proportion of concerning claims among the industries targeted in the operation.
Other sectors examined also had a significant proportion of concerning claims.
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. The AFA and its members are supported by reputable certification bodies to help avoid such risk.
Consumers are now, more than ever, making purchasing decisions on environmental grounds. Unfortunately, it appears that rather than making legitimate changes to their practices and procedures, some businesses are relying on false or misleading claims. This conduct harms not only consumers, but also those businesses taking genuine steps to implement more sustainable practices.