National Retail welcomed the long-awaited draft update to the ACCC Guidance to boost industry confidence to make genuine environmental and sustainability claims.

Our members reported that the draft Guidelines were reasonable, and they appreciate that it aligned with their prior understanding of avoiding misleading environmental claims. However, this continues to be a highly complex space for industry and there are significant challenges for compliance.

We believe it is important to strike the right balance in guidance and enforcement efforts to motivate businesses to confidently share their progress towards improved environmental outcomes and provide goal posts for industry to encourage genuine positive action, while addressing deliberate misrepresentation that can be used to gain competitive advantage.

National Retail responded to the draft Guidance to highlight good practice underway by retailers and suggested improvements to make the draft guidance more practical.

We identified ongoing challenges to the certainty of retail environmental and sustainability claims, including:

  • A lack of consistency in rules, definitions and waste infrastructure across state and local jurisdictions,
  • Difficulty to keep abreast of rapidly advancing science and technology, and information around best-practice environmental management, and

Barriers to obtain proof of claims, including complexities in supply chain traceability.

Retailers need clear and consistent definitions and enforcement criteria, practical advice on potentially misleading imagery and language, and endorsed due diligence processes and certification schemes to verify these claims and guide marketing practices.

National Retail continues to push for industry-led national standards and for the ACCC to endorse creditable certification schemes. In addition, we have requested that the Guidelines:

  • Provide standardised definitions of terminology to determine their proper use.
  • Clarify ACCC enforcement criteria, particularly around acceptable evidence, reasonable due diligence and risk-management for third-party fraud in supply chains.

In line with international standards, National Retail suggests that retailers should only be responsible for environmental claims that they generate, and not those claims made by the brands and products they sell.

We have also suggested that ACCC provide consumer and business education about reputable science and relative impacts of activities on the environment, whether positive or negative, to build capability to recognise and reward genuine improvements.

We look forward to continuing to work with ACCC, industry, national bodies and industry associations in the development of the final Guidance to ensure it is fit-for-purpose, practicable and reflect current best practice.

Have a question?

The Association provides a variety of support and resources for businesses across sustainability and environmental initiatives. This includes a toll-free hotline on 1800 817 723 and a dedicated email service at

For a copy of our submission, contact us.