Oz Ad Body Introduces 'Greenwash' Code for Ad Claims

19 August 2008

SYDNEY: Marketers Down Under who claim less-than-accurate environmental credentials for their products are likely to find themselves on the wrong end of new 'greenwashing' rules.

The Australian Association of National Advertisers is assembling a voluntary code to guide its members and head-off legislation by the Competition and Consumer Commission.

The issue of greenwashing - or overhyping eco-benefits - will go out for consultation to both sides of the divide, in an effort to come up with acceptable self-regulation.

Among those asked for their views is advocacy group Total Environment Centre, whose director Jeff Angel, thunders: "Environmental claims and brands should inspire and encourage consumers, not dupe them into thinking they are doing their part for the environment when they are not.

"It's essential that green products become mainstream, the normal products to buy, but for this to happen consumers must be confident about environmental claims."

When [or if] it comes into being, the code will be enforced by the Advertising Standards Board, which will attempt to ensure claims for products are not overcooked, irrelevant or meaningless.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff