Earlier this month, the ACCC provided an update on their greenwashing crackdown following an internet sweep which found more than half of the businesses reviewed made concerning claims about their environmental or sustainability practices. Several active investigations are underway, targeting businesses across the packaging, consumer goods, food manufacturing and medical devices sectors.
According to ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe, “Our sweep indicates a significant proportion of businesses are making vague or unclear environmental claims…Unfortunately, it appears that rather than making legitimate changes to their practices and procedures, some businesses are relying on false or misleading claims. This conduct harms not only consumers, but also those businesses taking genuine steps to implement more sustainable practices.”
At GECA, we couldn’t agree more! Integrity, transparency and scientific rigour are at the heart of everything we do as a purpose-driven not-for-profit. We’ve designed our services to smash greenwashing and provide credibility to your claims. Here are three key ways we can help organisations avoid making misleading environmental claims:
(1) Get your products and services GECA certified – We’ve developed
rigorous lifecycle ecolabel standards, following ISO 14024 principles, which our Assurance Providers independently assess. This form of environmental labelling is recognised internationally as the most robust and credible. When you see the GECA ecolabel, you know that the product or service has met critical environmental, health, social and quality criteria. GECA certification is a significant achievement, as the assessment looks at impacts across a product’s entire lifecycle, from the extraction of raw materials to the end of its life. To become certified, applicants ensure they do not make false or misleading claims about their product or service’s environmental performance.
(2) Go beyond a self-declared claim with third-party verification – Our GECA Claims Authentication service follows internationally recognised ISO 14021 principles to enable organisations to PROVE their environmental claims about their product or service. GECA’s Standards & Technical team conducts a research and criteria development phase, assessment against criteria and independent review of findings. The GECA Claim Authenticated mark provides independent third-party assurance that your claim has been substantiated.
(3) Learn the ins and outs of making credible environmental claims – Not every case of greenwashing is deliberate or nefarious in intent. A lack of understanding and experience in what makes an environmental claim robust and legally compliant often leads to accidental breaches by companies wanting to do better for people and planet. That’s why we’ve partnered with our fellow B Corporation, Marque Lawyers, to deliver environmental claims training that we can tailor to your business. Discover more about our training program and get a taster on the issues to consider when making environmental claims with our free Marque Lawyers and GECA Environmental Claims Guide.
Still trying to figure out where to start? We also provide a customised range of consulting services. Team GECA’s expertise includes technical knowledge in sustainable procurement of materials, products and services, circular economy, embodied carbon, biodiversity, and modern slavery solutions.