ACCC releases new principles to guide environmental claims

Hand uses green marker to colour in smoke pouring from chimney (environmental claims)
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The ACCC has published eight principles to help businesses ensure any environmental marketing and advertising claims they make about their products or services are clear and accurate, and do not mislead consumers.

The principles comprise the ACCC’s final guidance on environmental claims, which sets out the ACCC’s view of good practice when making environmental claims, as well as making businesses aware of their obligations under the Australian Consumer Law.

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“Our final guidance helps to demonstrate how businesses can make clear, evidence-based environmental claims that consumers can understand and trust,” ACCC acting chair Catriona Lowe said.

“Environmental claims are useful for consumers when they can easily understand what the environmental benefit is, and if there are any restrictions that can limit this benefit.

“As we transition to a greener economy, we need businesses to drive market innovation by investing in and choosing products and services with the lowest environmental impact.

“For consumers to drive change, they need to be able to trust that the products and services they are buying genuinely are sustainable, and businesses making real efforts to deliver benefits should not be disadvantaged by rivals making disingenuous claims.”

The final guidance incorporates feedback from over 150 stakeholders across consumer, business and environmental organisations on the ACCC’s draft version of the guidance.

“Misleading environmental and sustainability claims continue to be an enforcement and compliance priority for the ACCC, and we have several active investigations underway,”  Lowe said.

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“Our final guidance is intended to improve compliance by helping businesses make meaningful and truthful claims that meet their obligations under the Australian Consumer Law.”

The final guidance is available on the ACCC website at Making environmental claims: A guide for business.

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