End greenwashing now

We need new regulations to tackle dodgy 'green' claims.

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Breaking news: We're taking Z Energy to the High Court over misleading 'green’ advertising claims

Working with the Environmental Law Initiative and Lawyers for Climate Action New Zealand Inc., we are seeking a declaration from the High Court that Z Energy has misled New Zealanders with its advertising claims.  

Read more. 

Eco, biodegradable, green, planet conscious, earth-friendly – there’s no shortage of products on the shelves spouting environmental claims. In New Zealand, there are no specific rules preventing manufacturers from using vague green claims. Without clear rules, it's hard to know what's real and what's not.

We’re behind the times

Regulators in the EU, UK, and Australia have found that 40-50% of environmental claims in industries like clothing, cosmetics, food and drinks are false. New laws are now being implemented overseas to stop this.

In New Zealand, the Commerce Commission is responsible for policing false claims, but it generally relies on shoppers to report them. It shouldn't be up to consumers to keep companies honest. 

Send us your examples of greenwashing

We need your help to call out greenwashing. Whether it's at the supermarket, in a store or online, we need you to send us examples of suspicious or questionable green claims so we can hold manufacturers to account.

Send your photos to [email protected]

We're calling for

• An independent investigation of greenwashing claims in New Zealand 

New regulations to tackle greenwashing 

What industry should we investigate first?

How to spot greenwashing

Identifying greenwashing is no easy feat. These are the most common misleading green claims to look out for.

It looks eco-friendly

Maybe it's the brown cardboard or the images of nature on the packaging that gives the impression of being green, but it's just smoke and mirrors.

Certain logos, like a curling leaf, or an earth symbol can be especially misleading. It may suggest a product has been checked for green credentials by an independent third party, when it hasn’t.

Sustainable but single use

Just because a product has one sustainable feature, such as a singlet made with a percentage of 'better cotton', it doesn't necessarily make the entire garment environmentally friendly.

For instance, a rubbish bag may be constructed from 50% recycled plastic, but it can still only be used once and most likely end up in a landfill.

Meaningless terms

Green, natural, environmentally friendly, eco and sustainable are all terms that create the impression of great environmental performance but usually mean nothing.  

For example, the term 'biodegradable'. Everything biodegrades, eventually. Unless these claims have independent third-party testing to back them up, they’re worthless.

Pointless ‘free-from’ claims

Your dishwasher detergent may boast it's 'phosphate-free’, but dishwasher detergents no longer contain phosphates, so the product is claiming to be more virtuous than it is.