The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today issued updated guidance for businesses and industry on the use of environmental claims in marketing.  

"The ACCC has produced Green marketing and the Trade Practices Act in response to the increasing use of green claims in advertising by businesses seeking to differentiate themselves and their products from their competition by means of environmental claims," ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said.

"Businesses are aware that consumers are concerned about the environmental impact of the goods they purchase, and therefore look to promote the environmental benefits of their products. However, 'green' and other environmental claims are often based on complex scientific principles, making it difficult for consumers to assess their accuracy or to compare one claim against another."

Green claims are now made about a larger product range than ever before, from small household items to major whitegoods and appliances. Environmental concerns, such as water or energy efficiency, are a major factor many consumers consider when evaluating products to purchase. It is essential that consumers have accurate information on which to base their decisions.

Mr Samuel said the publication aims to educate businesses about their obligations under the Trade Practices Act 1974 and to assist manufacturers, suppliers, advertisers and others to assess the strength of any green claims they make. This will help to improve the accuracy and usefulness to consumers of their labelling, packaging and advertising.

The release of Green marketing and the Trade Practices Act follows recent ACCC action over potentially misleading environmental marketing claims in the energy industry. The ACCC continues to scrutinise the green claims made in a variety of markets and will take appropriate action against any business making misleading or unsupportable environmental claims.