Cosmetics, clothing and food sectors have highest rates of greenwashing: Australian corporate watchdog

The cosmetics, clothing, footwear, food and beverage industries make the most misleading claims about greenwashing, according to the Australian Consumer Watchdog.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on 2nd March clearly Of the 247 companies surveyed, more than half (57%) were “vague or unclear” about their environmental certifications.

This practice is called “greenwashing” and is becoming increasingly popular as companies and organizations hope to win over the public by demonstrating supposed net-zero or environmental certification.

The findings support the 2022 ACCC to identify misleading environmental marketing claims in areas such as energy, automobiles, household products and appliances, food and beverage packaging, cosmetics, clothing and footwear. It was part of an investigation.

“Consumers are now making more environmental decisions than ever before,” said ACCC Vice Chair Catriona Law.

“Unfortunately, some companies appear to be relying on false or misleading claims rather than making legitimate changes to their practices and procedures.”

Examples of past greenwashing

L’Oreal, P&G and L’Occitane are among the beauty brands accused of greenwashing.

In Australia, beauty company Bondi Suns drew attention in May 2022 when it was sued for falsely advertising sunscreens containing harmful ingredients such as avobenzone, homosalate and octisalate as ‘reef friendly’. .

Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M also launched its clothing line in 2019, it was a conscious choice Environmentally Friendly.

The brand said the clothes were made “with a little extra care for the planet” and contained “at least 50% more sustainable materials, such as organic cotton and recycled polyester,” even though they weren’t. He said he was.

It was later discovered that some products in the Conscious Choice line contained 100% polyester, which is not biodegradable and pollutes the environment with plastic microfibers and toxic chemicals.

Meanwhile, in October 2022, the ACCC fined solar and gas company Tlou Energy $53,280 (US$34,625) for “greenwashing” and claiming its power generation was carbon neutral.

Companies are encouraged to back up their ‘green’ credentials

Lowe warns that false “green” marketing harms not only consumers, but also companies that are serious about improving the sustainability of their products.

When using broad claims such as ‘green’, ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘sustainable’, etc., companies should rely on authoritative scientific reports, transparent supply chain information, reputable third-party certification, etc. Mr Low added that he would need to provide evidence of

“When in doubt, we ask companies to substantiate their claims.”

Consumer Watchdog conducts similar research in the areas of packaging, consumer goods, manufacturing and medical devices.

Lowe said he takes steps to ensure that environmental certifications created are accurate and meaningful, and importantly, if he finds himself making misleading marketing claims. encouraged companies to “get ahead.”

“Our sweep shows that claims are most useful when they are relevant, clear, credible and transparent,” she noted.

“Companies that cooperate and advise on issues related to business operations will be viewed more favorably than those that wait for the ACCC to clarify these issues.”

Environmental Issues Are Most Important to Consumers

A recent survey found that concerns about the environmental impact of products were among the top concerns for consumers.

research by Deloitte 2020 reveals the biggest lifestyle changes by consumers We have reduced single-use plastics and purchased brands with environmentally sustainable values.

In 2019, Accenture investigation There are 6,000 consumers in 11 countries in North America, Europe and Asia. He found that 83% of respondents believe it is important for companies to design products that can be reused or recycled.

Nearly three-quarters say they buy more environmentally friendly products now than they did five years ago, and an overwhelming 81% expect to buy more in the next five years.