AANA releases draft code to stamp out greenwashing

The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) has released an Exposure Draft of its Environmental Claims Code for further public comment following an extensive public review.

AANA launched a review of its Environmental Claims Code just over a year ago to make sure the code reflected community standards and international best practice. An Exposure Draft has now been released for public comment.

Josh Faulks, CEO, AANA, said the review of the Environmental Claims Code and release of the Exposure Draft demonstrates the industry’s commitment to stamping out greenwashing.

“The aim of releasing the Exposure Draft is to give the public, government and industry a further opportunity to help shape the standards around environmental claims,” Faulks said.

The Environmental Claims Code forms an integral part of the advertising self-regulatory system, and complements Australia’s consumer protection laws and ACCC’s new guidance.

“The strength of the advertising regulatory system lies in its agility to respond to shifts in community standards and developments around the world. That’s why we regularly review all the codes through a transparent and public process.

“Importantly, the community also has a voice through the independent complaints handling system, administered by Ad Standards”, Faulks said.

The Ad Standards Community Panel, which adjudicates the complaints, is made up of members of the community who are not affiliated with the advertising industry in any way.

In July 2023, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) published a draft guidance to improve sustainability claims made by businesses. The draft’s release followed a greenwashing internet sweep by the consumer watchdog found that 57 per cent of businesses reviewed were making potentially misleading environmental claims.

In December 2023, the ACCC published eight principles to help businesses ensure any environmental marketing and advertising claims they make about their products or services are clear and accurate, and do not mislead consumers.

The principles comprise the ACCC’s final guidance on environmental claims, which sets out the ACCC’s view of good practice when making environmental claims, as well as making businesses aware of their obligations under the Australian Consumer Law.

AANA invites feedback to the Exposure Draft which will assist in finalising a new Environmental Claims Code.

Interested parties have until 5pm on Friday 22 March 2024 to submit their comments.

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