If green washing does not wash – avoid misleading environmental claims

Businesses are increasingly eager to provide their customers with an environmentally-friendly or "green" image. Both large and small businesses are aware of the potential for green products or services for environmentally conscious consumers in a good business sense. Customers often are willing to pay a substantial price for a green product

Unfortunately, many businesses, including large companies, have made fundamental mistakes in the green market. Instead of having positive publicity to offer the green alternative, these companies received a negative publicity for "green washing". In some cases, these companies are unwanted by ACCC.

This article examines the green marketing mistakes businesses have tried to sell in their green affiliates and suggest guidelines that professionals can help their customers avoid these mistakes. [196459002] The Commercial Practice Act 1974 (TPA) contains two major civil law provisions challenging false or misleading green claims. Section 52 prohibits companies from behaving misleading or misleading or misleading or deceiving, while p.53 prohibits companies from misrepresenting:

  • that the goods are subject to special standards, quality, composition or special history; or
  • that there are no performance characteristics or benefits for the goods.

These provisions are reflected in the state's decent commercial law, which applies to companies, individuals, and legal persons without legal personality.

Remedies available for violations of ss.52 and 53 include infringements, declarations and damages,

Practitioners should be aware that violations of criminal penalties of up to $ 1.1 million can be considered as a breach of environmental benefits make it possible to punish more serious abuses.

One of the important aspects of civil liability in the context of TPA is to provide evidence for representations in future affairs. Therefore, if your client presents a representation of the future environmental benefits of your products, then you can bear the evidence of a well-founded basis for such representations.

Many groups monitor green business claims raised by businesses and are likely to come out of the wrong green claims. Firstly, the Australian Competition and Consumers' Committee (ACCC) appears to be the implementation priority of green remedies. The ACCC was very active in this area as it has been using more and more green cases during the past 12 months.

Second, there are constantly remarkable and sophisticated non-governmental organizations that are misleading among green claims. For example, a complaint from the Total Environment Center prompted ACCC to investigate EnergyAustralia (discussed below). These organizations may also initiate infringements of the relevant civil provisions of the TPA itself.

The ultimate serious risk is represented by competing businesses. Competitors are reluctant to complain to the ACCC about a green application that does not overturn. Implementation of ACCC

ACCC is increasingly active in green marketing needs. In the last 12 months, eight tests have been carried out according to green requirements

The first environmental test carried out by ACCC is the first significant example of the Australian air conditioning industry's claims that its products are "environmentally friendly". The first case was against Sanyo Airconditioning Manufacturing Singapore Pte Ltd, according to which the Eco Multi Series air conditioner "environmentally friendly HFC" R407C was "Added" and is holding a "new ozone era" world green. "[19659002] The problem with this representation is that the R407C is a powerful greenhouse gas and, as such, is hardly" environmentally friendly. "The other gas used in the Eco Multi series is R22, a chlorofluorocarbon disintegrating the ozone layer, obviously not conducive to the ozone layer [19659002] There are two important questions in this case (which they agreed)

First, the ACCC seems to believe that "environmentally friendly" is a representation that the product has a neutral effect on the environmentally beneficial effect

Secondly, the ACCC is against Sanyo Airconditioning both the text used in advertising materials, as well as the trees, the sea and the moon.The ACCC represented the view that, that such images have provided a strong environmental message to consumers

The present y, two more remarkable studies were carried out to make similar representations for Daikin and Dimplex. In each case, companies have done s.77B businesses to remove green portraiture and make a number of remedial remedies including publishing correction bulletins on their websites and industry journals and writing letters to customers and distributors

. The other area of ​​ACCC is related to the greening of motor vehicles

The Federal Court recently agreed that GM Holden Ltd's statements on the environmental benefits of Saab vehicles were misleading. In particular, GMH claimed that "all Saab Green is carbon neutral in the entire Saab region". This statement was based on the fact that the GMH will launch 17 vehicles to offset the emissions generated by the life cycle of each motor vehicle. In fact, the 17 trees could only counterbalance carbon dioxide emissions from the operation of a one-year vehicle.

GMH was ordered to refrain from such representations in the future and to renew its marketing associates. Nevertheless, the largest cost of GMH (with the detriment of the "green" seller's credibility) added another 12 500 trees to offset carbon dioxide emissions from cars, the Saab "Grrrrrreen" advertising campaign.

In a recent ACCC case, the Green Appearances of the V8 Supercars were part of the "Racing Green Program". The V8 Supercars claimed that planting 10,000 native trees would offset carbon emissions from the V8 championship and all related emissions from racing teams traveling to events. The ACCC is concerned that consumers understand that the 10,000 trees absorb carbon dioxide in a short time, while in fact the emissions of one-year races will be absorbed in just a few decades. the final material dealt with Goodyear's Eagle LS2000 tires. Goodyear said that this tire range was designed to be environmentally friendly, minimizing environmental impact, and its production process reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Goodyear concluded this case with ACCC with a company p.87B, acknowledging that these environmental benefits can not be established.

ACCC also examined green energy companies' claims. He analyzed EnergyAustralia's representations for CleanAir and GreenFuture's non-accredited electricity products. EnergyAustralia claimed that subscribers would receive "100% green electricity at no extra cost" and that "every single electricity per kilowatt hour will buy the same electricity from 100% renewable energy and this is guaranteed."

The ACCC is concerned that consumers come to the conclusion that they are using renewable sources of energy to support renewable energy sources and not simply to their existing electricity sources. Although EnergyAustralia did not acknowledge that its declarations were misleading, it acknowledged that customers might have been mistaken for representation. EnergyAustralia agreed with a number of legal remedies including compensation, customer correction letters, and a $ 100,000 contribution to an educational brochure to explain the difference between accredited and non-accredited products.

The main lessons learned from the review of ACCC investigations are:

(1) Do not let your client become green unless there is scientific evidence to support this claim;

(2) be careful to use images in green fields as ACCC carefully examines the images used and not just the text;

(3) Do not let your client overestimate the environmental benefits of the Green Initiative; ) Make sure that the customer's green appearance is not too confusing for consumers; and

(5) recognize that certain environmental benefits are simply too complicated to turn short and sharp marketing messages. [3] Resources represent three major sources for customer advocates in the Green Market Claims: "Green Marketing and Commercial Practices Act"

(2) "Carbon Claims and Trade Act"

(3) "Environmental labels and declarations – self-declared environmental claims"

"Green Marketing and Trade Act" was issued by ACCC in 2008. Explains the specific sections of the TPA that may apply to green marketing claims

In Section 2, the guide sets out principles that businesses should consider before environmental claims are taken. One important principle is that if a business makes a green claim, it must take into account the entire life cycle of the product. Even if the product has no adverse environmental impact during its useful life, if it has a significant environmental impact when discarded, the business must avoid a wide range of unqualified environmental claims.

Part 4 is useful as a "Checklist for Distributors". This checklist lists the type of questions that professionals need to ask their customers for their products before signing up for an environmental marketing campaign or advertisement.

"Carbon Claims and Trade Act"

This guide was published in 2008. Provides useful guidance on how companies can produce carbon stocks that can withstand control. Three main statements are available:

  • claim that an enterprise has obtained carbon compensation for its product (such as Saab and V8 racing examples);
  • states that a product is carbon-neutral; and
  • the carbon footprint of the product has been reduced, for example by using new technology (as in the Goodyear example).

Section 2 deals with carbon offsets. This section defines the relevant terms and provides insights into some of the questions you should be aware of – for example:

  • addicionality – the benefits of carbon reduction "to those that would otherwise have happened;
  • double count offsets – defined as offset is not "retired" and two or more companies claim the same emission reduction; and
  • of low-quality offsets – not all offsets are of the same value, so it is important to ensure that the purchased compensation matches the level of output that the company reduces.

Section 3 addresses carbon-neutral and low-carbon demand. Greenhouse gas emissions are the generally accepted understanding and quantification of greenhouse gas emissions. This protocol uses the term "scope" to describe emission sources:

  • Circle 1 – Direct Release;
  • Circuit 2 – indirect energy release; or
  • 3 – Other indirect emissions

ACCC encourages businesses to use these concepts in requiring carbon neutrality. This is a useful advice as an enterprise is likely to break TPA if it claims that a product is carbon-neutral on Circle 1 – direct emissions, but does not consider Circles 2 and 3. the degree of carbon neutrality

ACCC also provides practical advice on how to evaluate a business carbon footprint using a footprint calculator. As with any such calculation, the end result is only as good as the information contained therein. Businesses need to be very cautious to ensure they have reliable and detailed information before trying to exploit their carbon footprints.

This guide also discusses the risk of low carbon emissions. ACCC is of the opinion that if a business fails to explain the context of such claims, it is usually too vague to be properly understood by consumers.

Finally, in section 4, ACCC provides a checklist for businesses that wish to make a carbon-related claim

"Environmental labels and declarations – self-declared environmental claims"

This Australian and New Zealand standard exists since 2000. compulsory standard since green marketing needs are in the community, it is just a matter of time before the mandatory standard is introduced. Therefore, it is worth considering the key aspects of the standard as it provides some insight into how to ensure that green marketing needs are not misleading or misleading.

The purpose of this standard is to "harmonize the various national guidelines for environmental requirements in product labels and marketing in general, to facilitate trade on the global market and to protect consumer confidence in the environment" .

Consumers' confidence in environmental claims is particularly important in the green market. Consumers have no time to fully investigate the scientific evidence that is green. Accordingly, consumers are more dependent on the accuracy of green marketing material when making their purchases.

The specific objects of the standard are listed in Section 4 and include the following goals:

  • Ensure companies are misleading to make accurate and verifiable environmental claims;
  • to prevent or minimize unjustified claims; and
  • reducing market turmoil

Section 5.3. Section states that "An environmental statement that is blurred or non-specific, or which generally means that a product is environmentally friendly or environmentally friendly, not usable," environmentally friendly "," green "," non polluting "," green "," nature-friendly "and" ozone-friendly "should not be used."

"An environmentally harmful substance should not be used, which is why such statements can not be proven as a result of the presence of trace elements. the formulation of sustainability claims as there are no definitive methods for measuring sustainability or measuring performance [19659002] Point 5.7 provides a checklist that all requirements must meet the standard. For example, there is a requirement that environmental claims accurate and not misleading, and that they are well-founded and justified. There are also requirements to ensure that the product's entire life cycle is taken into account and that comparative statements are clear and accurate.


for Businesses. If businesses and professionals are thoroughly examining the key resources identified in this article, namely the Green Marketing and Carbon Handling Guidelines issued by the ACCC, this Australian Standard for Environmental Claims Declared on their own will minimize this risk

Practitioners need to recognize that one of the consequences of these guides is that sometimes the proposed environmental protection requirement is simply too sophisticated or complex to. It is, however, much better to waive the use of the claim at an early stage than to be subject to the ACCC test, and would lead to a negative publicity if the overly simplified or otherwise misleading green statement is short.

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