"People are increasingly making choices about which products to buy and which
service providers to use on climate change grounds. With concerns about climate
change now affecting most Australians, businesses that promote climate-aligned
practices and make emissions-reduction promises have a competitive advantage
over those that don’t.
But sometimes these claims fail to live up to reality. Climate-related
greenwashing, or “climate-washing”, communicates a message that exaggerates or
misrepresents climate credentials through advertising, branding, labelling or
Examples include where corporate marketing and government campaigns promising
“net-zero emissions by 2050” are not backed by a credible plan. Or products are
promoted as “carbon neutral” or “climate friendly” when they’re not. It also
includes where banks and other investors claim to fund a “cleaner future” when
this is not completely true, potentially masking climate-related financial
Climate-washing is a problem because the offending businesses capitalise on
climate anxiety. It also allows businesses lacking robust credentials to gain
customers and market advantage on false pretences. Ultimately, it also hinders
rather than helps progress towards emissions reduction goals.
In March, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced a
crack-down on climate-washing and greenwashing. This followed an ACCC report
revealing claims made by more than half the 247 Australian businesses reviewed
in an internet sweep raised concern. The ACCC has said it will now undertake
enforcement, compliance and education activities.
On Wednesday the Senate agreed to establish an inquiry into greenwashing by
corporations in Australia. The inquiry will investigate the impacts of
greenwashing on consumers and the environment and will identify the legal and
regulatory actions needed to stop it."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics