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Say “No” To Misleading Marketing Claims

The Misleading Claims Kit has recently been updated to help the forestry and wood products industry identify and act against misleading environmental marketing claims that may reduce the appeal of timber and wood products.

The kit has been prepared with members and the supply chain in mind and will provide a resource to help our industry formulate legitimate environmental claims about the benefits of timber in promotional materials.

Any company, whether operating in the forest and wood products industry or a competing industry, takes a serious risk when promoting misleading environmental claims intended to generate profit by falsely positioning products as ‘beneficial for the environment’. This practice is known as greenwashing.

This resource was created in response to concerns raised with FWPA by industry members regarding misleading or deceptive public statements made by non-wood competitors.

“Members will benefit from guidance around what actions can be taken to remove or report misleading environmental claims about wood, as well as about competing materials,” Eileen Newbury, Head of Marketing and Communications at FWPA.

Information and resources included in the kit will empower members to act against false statements that could prove damaging to the forest and wood products industry.

“When a business manufactures, supplies or advertises products or services with statements about environmental credentials and impact, it is essential to ensure all claims are accurate and verifiable,” said Newbury.

Where false environmental claims are made, a breach of the misleading and deceptive conduct and false representation provisions covered by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and other regulatory bodies may have occurred.

These bodies regularly monitor environmental claims made by businesses, meaning there’s a high likelihood that those engaging in greenwashing will be identified.

“Where breaches occur, the offending party can find themselves facing serious consequences. Aside from the legal and financial repercussions, businesses may also suffer commercially and risk reputational damage,” said Newbury.

Clear examples are included in the kit to help guide the industry in identifying where a breach may have occurred. Sample letters of concern, complaint and warning are also included for those inspired to take action.

Equally as important is the inclusion of guidance specifically designed to support the forestry and wood products sector in remaining compliant and properly verifying its own environmental claims. This information will help members avoid committing damaging breaches of their own.

The full kit can be found by clicking here.

Posted Date: October 27, 2022

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