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More companies could be caught making false green claims

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Goodyear Tyres has apologised and launched a refund scheme for customers taken in by misleading claims the company admits it made about the green credentials of some of its tyres.

Goodyear Tyres has apologised and launched a refund scheme for customers taken in by misleading claims the company admits it made about the green credentials of some of its tyres.

Goodyear made a range of environmental claims for its Eagle LS2000 range of tyres, including that they were “a revolutionary environmentally-friendly tyre,” that they were “designed for minimal environmental impact” and would result in reduced emissions.

But it has now admitted it cannot prove the claims are true and has promised to withdraw the promotional, advertising and website materials making them and place corrective notices in the national media.

It will also offer a partial refund to customers who purchased tyres on the basis of the green claims.

The concessions are part of an enforceable court undertaking given by Goodyear to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission after the competition watchdog commenced legal action against the company for breaching laws against misleading representations.

“The ACCC will continue to look very closely at marketing that includes environmental claims, and will act decisively when such claims are false or misleading,” ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel says.

The admissions coincide with the release of the ACCC’s new guide to help business avoid making false or misleading claims about the carbon emission friendliness of their products.

The guide provides a range of information for business owners thinking about promoting the green credentials of their product, including:

  • Provide full and complete information to consumers on the carbon claims of your product – misleading conduct can include silence.
  • Clarify your carbon claims – there are many varied standards of measurement, accounting and accreditation, so you must explain the basis of your claims to consumers.
  • If you are claiming your product or business is carbon neutral, spell out exactly what is included in your claim to avoid misleading consumers. There is no universal definition of carbon neutrality and consumer understanding of the term may vary.
  • If you are making statements about the future green status or impact of your product, ensure you have a reasonable basis for making them.

 

Read more on carbon emissions, green credentials and misleading advertising

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