Australia cracks down on greenwashing in advertising

Australia cracks down on greenwashing in advertising

Marketing Mag recently reported that the Australian Association of National Advertisers (or AANA for short) will be introducing a new standard for advertisers making green claims. Their news article outlined how the scheme, called the Environmental Claims Advertising and Marketing Code, will aim to ensure consumers are not being misled by companies trying to greenwash their products by making false environmental claims.

Certainly this will be welcome news to environmental and consumer advocacy groups who have long campaigned for clarity and transparency in advertising. The code aims to ensure that companies can back up their claims with solid evidence of how their product/service benefits the environment, and do not mislead customers to believe that they are voluntarily making big environmental commitments that are simply just legal mandates for their industry. In short, the code should go some ways towards stopping companies painting themselves as environmental saviours if they are clearly not.

It will be interesting however to see if the move helps boost buyer confidence in this area.

Recent research compiled by Melbourne-based consumer research company Mobuim showed although numbers of consumers wishing to ‘do the right thing’ by the environment via their purchasing choices has risen by nearly one-third since last year – from 62 percent to 82 percent – the number of consumers who seriously doubt ‘green’ claims has increased significantly over the same period, with 88 per cent of consumers saying they are wary of ‘eco’, ‘green’ and ‘environmentally friendly’ assertions companies make.

Hopefully the AANA move to clean up greenwashing in advertising will help in this regard, but with figures like those above perhaps the damage has already been done.

How about you – have you become increasingly sceptical of green claims in advertising? Or does consumer distrust created by greenwashing affect your company and its ability to convey a genuine environmental message? If so, we would love to hear from you. Send us your thoughts!

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