Daikin is an importer and distributor of air-conditioning units made by its Japanese parent company. From around January 2001 until August 2003, Daikin Australia Pty Ltd, claimed in sales brochures distributed to agents and on its website that the hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants HFC-407C and HFC-134a and Daikin air-conditioning units employing those refrigerants:

  • were environmentally friendly, and
  • that their use by consumers would prevent, or at least not contribute to, global warming.

The ACCC considers the representations made by Daikin were misleading because the refrigerants HFC-407C and HFC-134a are potent greenhouse gases that do not benefit the environment and will contribute to global warming.
Daikin has undertaken that it will:

  • not make the representations for a period of five years;
  • place corrective advertisements on its website;
  • write and distribute letters explaining the undertaking to Daikin's distributors and to the Australian Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturers Association; and
  • review its existing trade practices compliance program and ensure training about environmental claims for sales and marketing staff and company officers responsible for compliance.

"The outcome of the ACCC's investigation of Daikin and other air-conditioning manufacturers should sound a warning to businesses attempting to promote their products or services using misleading environmental claims", ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said today.

"Environmental marketing claims are an important marketing tool globally, in the air conditioning industry as well as in other industries.”

"In light of the ACCC's investigation of Daikin and other air-conditioning manufacturers concerning misleading environmental representations, extra care should be taken by businesses intending to promote environmental aspects of their products or services to accurately specify the environmental benefits claimed. Businesses should be wary of making broad generalisations about the environmental benefits of their products."