'Bad Company Awards' target Greenwashers

Consumers International expose global brands’ dodgy claims

Consumers International (CI) today announced the “winners” of their annual Bad Company Awards, exposing global brands who seek to greenwash their carbon

The award winners include Audi, which in an US advertising campaign suggested that its new diesel A3 is clean and green and do not harm the environment. The ad went so far as to suggest that driving the A3 is as green as riding a bicycle. Other winners included BP, for talking up its renewable ambitions while investing next to nothing; and Microsoft, for marketing Windows 7 as green while simultaneously encouraging consumers to buy new PCs.

CHOICE sustainability officer Kate Norris says that to coincide with climate change talks in Copenhagen, the Bad Company Awards this year focused on companies who exploit consumer concerns about the environment with marketing spin that doesn't stack up.

CHOICE is a member of Consumers International, a group of 220 consumer bodies from 115 countries around the world that aims to protect and empower consumers everywhere.

Locally, CHOICE's Green Watch campaign continues to find examples of irresponsible greenwashing. Its recent laundry powder test found that 'greywater safe' claims can't always be trusted. Seventh Generation has agreed to cease making the claim on the front of pack – but has yet to remove it from the back of the box.

CHOICE says green labelling and reporting standards are not up to scratch and wants to help Australians get a better deal for themselves and their environment by:

  • providing consumers with information to confidently make greener decisions.
  • investigating vague, confusing, false, or misleading green claims.
  • lobbying government and business to improve the standard of green claims.

Consumers can go to www.choice.com.au/greenwatch to report suspected cases of greenwash or find out more about the campaign.

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Green watch

Sorting the dodgy green claims from the genuine ones can be a minefield.

27 Nov 2009 | From food and everyday household items to cars and plane flights, growing numbers of consumers want to make more sustainable choices. But can all 'green claims' be trusted?

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