AANA releases draft code to fight greenwashing

By AdNews | 18 January 2024
Credit: Mert Guller via Unsplash.

The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) has released an draft of a new Environmental Claims Code, 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. 

Making unsubstantiated green claims has emerged as a major issue in advertising with competition regulator the ACCC in a greenwashing crackdown.

Josh Faulks, AANA CEO, said the release of the exposure draft demonstrates the industry’s strong 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,” Faulks said. 

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

A study of 8,963 ads, observed more than 20,000 times in people’s Facebook feeds, finds that consumers are potentially being deceived.

The research is part of a project produced by the not-for-profit Consumer Policy Research Centre, researchers at Melbourne Law School and the Australian Ad Observatory, a project of ADM+S (ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society).

The most common claims found in the study were “clean”, “green” and “sustainable”. Others include “bio”, “recycled” or “recyclable”, “pure” and “eco-friendly”.

AANA invites feedback to the Exposure Draft until 5pm on Friday, March 22, to submit their comments. 

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