ACCC Issues Guidance On “Greenwashing” In The HV Sector

What does “greenwashing” in Australia look like? We have recently witnessed the first lawsuit brought by ASIC against “greenwashing”, which is the practice of misrepresenting claims related to the environment, sustainability, or ethics.

The case covered simple concepts that we can all grasp: a super fund offered a so-called sustainable investment option that allegedly excluded investments in fossil fuels, alcohol, and gambling – however, companies invested in by said super fund included Whitehaven Coal, Heineken, and Tabcorp.

But what about “greenwashing” in the heavy vehicle sector?

Last year the ACCC released a document on Environmental and sustainability claims: a draft guidance for business. Alongside general advice related to obligations under Australian Consumer Law (ACL), there is specific mention of transport.

In the document the ACCC cites an example of claims that are likely to be false or misleading – a business which designs and manufactures electric vehicles and claims it “creates zero-emission electric vehicles”.

The ACCC notes this claim only considers the emissions produced while the vehicle is being driven and does not account for the emissions generated, for example, during the manufacturing process or when charging the vehicle.

The ACCC points out that this claim risks creating the impression that the vehicle produces zero emissions for its entire life cycle and misleading consumers in contravention of the ACL.

It suggests the business could instead qualify the claim that its vehicles produce “zero exhaust emissions while driving”.

As a result, HVIA members are advised to be aware of claims around low- and zero-emission vehicles, taking into account the importance of specifying that zero emissions are produced while being driven and avoiding potentially misleading consumers about the manufacturing or charging process.

The best course of action when it comes to making sustainability claims is to be specific, give realistic impressions, and be sure to use disclaimers. Above all else – seek legal advice if in any doubt before making any public claims.

HVIA Appoints Kay Marco National Events Manager

HVIA has announced the appointment of Kay Marco as National Events Manager with responsibility for its flagship event, the Brisbane…

Advantia Project Aims To Streamline PBS Accessibility

HVIA member Advantia Transport Consulting is seeking industry feedback on a project to advance Performance Based Standards vehicle accessibility. Advantia…

Follow Us