Greenwashing is the misleading practice of presenting an organisation's products, aims, and policies as more environmentally friendly than they are. This can be intentional, to cover up environmental lapses, or unintentional, due to inadequate supply chain understanding or poor reporting methods.
As a sustainable communications firm, we recognise the growing concern of greenwashing in the business world. It's imperative that corporate affairs, communications teams, C-Suite executives, and boards understand greenwashing and how to mitigate its risks. Understanding the regulatory environment and integrating communication with sustainability strategies is vital to avoid greenwashing allegations.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) found a significant proportion of environmental claims to be misleading. In 2023, the ACCC reported that 57% of businesses in various sectors, including cosmetics and food & beverages, made vague and unqualified environmental claims.
The ACCC categorises environmental claims into three forms: product-specific, company-wide, and those using logos and symbols. Seven key issues leading to misleading claims include vague terms, lack of evidence, absolute claims, misleading comparisons, exaggeration, unclear aspirational goals, misuse of third-party certifications, and misleading trust marks.
The ACCC plans to address greenwashing through economy-wide, sector-specific, and business-specific actions, including legal proceedings and infringement notices.
Businesses and consumers are encouraged to report misleading environmental claims to the ACCC. This aids in compliance, education, industry engagement, advocacy, and research.
If your company is committed to authentic and compliant sustainable practices, Wilkinson Butler is here to guide you. We help in understanding the regulatory environment and ensure your communications accurately reflect your sustainable commitments. Contact us for expert guidance in navigating the complexities of greenwashing and safeguarding your company's reputation.
To learn more about avoiding greenwashing and enhancing your sustainable communications, reach out to our team of experts via the contact form below, or give us a call. Let us help you turn sustainability into a tangible and credible aspect of your business strategy.