Consumers should question sustainability claims, says ACM

Demonstrating against climate change in Amsterdam. Photo: Martin van Dijl, Greenpeace

The Dutch consumer authority ACM is launching a campaign to stamp out greenwashing, by making sure companies stop claiming to be more sustainable than they really are.

The authority on Monday launched a new campaign on social media aimed at helping consumers assess the validity of claims made by companies, who talk about their products being the “sustainable choice” or “green” without providing evidence. 

The ACM commissioned research about how consumers regard sustainability claims and found that while many react with scepticism, they are often also misled. 

“Companies are pretending to be greener than they really are through vague and unjustified claims,” said ACM director of consumer affairs Edwin van Houten. “Consumers are influenced by the claims companies make.”

Consumers are also being urged to report what they consider to be misleading sustainability claims to the ACM. The agency, which has previously investigated sustainability claims in the clothing and energy sectors, is focusing in the coming months on greenwashing and the transport sector. 

KLM is currently the subject of a court case brought by campaign group Fossielvrij, which says KLM is misleading travellers with claims about how it offsets the environmental impact of flying. 

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