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Australia: Watchdog taking Woolworths to court

 |  March 4, 2018

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is suing Woolworths Limited in Federal Court for allegedly misleading consumers. The watchdog said that the supermarket giant’s environmental claims about its W Select Eco products were false, misleading and deceptive.

The ACCC said that Woolworths labelled the W Select Eco picnic products, which included disposable bowls, plates and cutlery, as “biodegradable and compostable” from November 2014 to November 2017. The company allegedly misrepresented to consumers that the product line would compost within a reasonable period in domestic compost bins or conventional landfill sites.

However, Woolworths did not “make reasonable or adequate efforts” to verify the claims. Its customers paid a premium for the products because they thought the environmental claims were true.

“The ACCC also alleges that Woolworths made these claims in circumstances where it was aware there was confusion among consumers and businesses about the meaning of biodegradable and compostable,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said in a statement. “One of the suppliers of the W select Eco line also had significant qualifications on its website about the biodegradability and compostability of its products. Despite all these matters, Woolworths made the representations without explanation or qualification.”

The retail company allegedly acted contrary to its own Environmental Claims Policy, which stated that such claims should be “accurate, specific and clear.”

Full Content: Herald Sun

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