ACCC continues its focus on "green" marketing
Company director found liable for claims and subject to
an injunction restraining future conduct
The ACCC quite openly declared its interest in
"green"/environmentally friendly claims in February 2008
when it released its guide entitled "Green marketing and the
Trade Practices Act", and it seems that this interest
These proceedings between the ACCC and SeNevens International
Ltd illustrate the type of enforcement action that the Commission
is prepared to take against environmental claims that are
misleading and deceptive.
SeNevens (which has now changed its name to Eco Quest Limited)
made representations that its Safeties Nature Nappy was "100%
biodegradeable". The problem was that the nappies contained
plastic components that were not capable of being broken down by
the biological activity of living organisms. SeNevens withdrew the
product from sale in April 2008 after the ACCC's investigation
into the claims.
The Court held that the "100% biodegradeable" claim
breached sections 52 and 53 of the Trade Practices Act 1974.
In addition, the Federal Court of Australia declared that a
director of SeNevens, Ms Charishma Seneviratne was "knowingly
concerned" in the company's misleading conduct. The Court
found that she knew that the whole of its Safeties Nature Nappy
product was not biodegradable at the time she approved
Justice Marshall was clearly concerned about the seriousness of
the breach. He agreed to consent orders imposing a five year
injunction on Ms Seneviratne preventing her from being party to any
nappy biodegradability claims without first having received
independent scientific testing of the product being promoted.
This case demonstrates the importance of ensuring that any
environmental claims made in respect of your product can be
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
This newsletter includes links to recent media releases, reports and cases relating to competition and consumer law.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).