02.Why it's important to stop greenwash
From food and everyday household items to cars and plane flights, growing numbers of consumers want to make more sustainable choice. But not all 'green claims' can be trusted.
Consumers need reliable, simple and comparable information to make greener choices.
Information on product labels and in advertising can be useful for helping consumers make better decisions.
But consumers are getting bombarded by greenwash: deceptive marketing designed to portray a company or product as caring for the environment.
Organisations may mislead consumers by promoting themselves and their products as 'eco-friendly', 'green', 'sustainable' or 'environmentally friendly' and so on, when in fact they are having a negative or negligible impact.
Greenwash has serious consequences. It can prevent real green change by:
- diverting spending towards products with negligible or non-existent benefits
- preventing truly green products from differentiating themselves
- encouraging more greenwash, rather than product innovation.
The Trade Practices Act prohibits companies from making misleading and deceptive claims — green or otherwise. The problem is that while many examples of greenwash may not breach the Trade Practices Act, they’re just not helpful for consumers or the environment.