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Global GreenTag born ready to stamp out greenwashing

Global GreenTag International is overjoyed that the Australian government consumer watchdog has increased activities to target businesses making false environmental claims.

It is a good day when consumer watchdogs bring businesses into line that are using greenwashing tactics and misleading the market with unsubstantiated, environmental and sustainability marketing claims. The recent actions we have seen unfold in the US, Europe and now by the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) who have launched a higher level push to their usual ongoing actions to fight greenwashing, are wholeheartedly welcomed by Global GreenTag International,

The traps for product buyers, and risks for professionals of being duped by marketing greenwash are thankfully now being seriously dealt with at a Federal Government level in Australia. This fresh campaign to actively seek out online greenwash was launched by the ACCC in early October.

Global GreenTag believes that manufacturers whose products have already undergone third-party product assessments "must be sighing some relief that they took measures to back their marketing claims through third-party certifications to reinforce the credibility of their green product claims. They are now well situated to weather this storm that is descending," said David Baggs, Global GreenTag's CEO and Program Director.

"We have always taken a strong stand against greenwashing and once products are certified by us, it is part of the contract agreement that we have structured with manufacturers that GreenTag goes a step further to review all the marketing relating to the products being certified and require manufacturers to change any marketing that might be construed as greenwash when they communicate and market their product claims. We take the time with every product to vet how they are interpreting their product claims through their marketing initiatives.

"GreenTag was created to support the preservation and protection of the environment and human health and ethical labour provision through product certification and we serve it by eliminating greenwash with science-based, third-party assessment of product claims to provide trusted product information to the market."

Manufacturers who submit their products for third-party assessment understand this position very well. In a recent statement published in Architecture and Design Lachlan Howell, GH Commercial's Corporate Sales & Sustainability Coordinator, articulated the strategic advantage and significance of certifications in helping to create systemic change in the market, stating: "... certifications are not just an intangible form of compliance, rather opportunistic value of the highest order ...They provide integrity, transparency, and confidence for our customers and stakeholders alike."

The ACCC are continuing with their efforts to do active sweeps of the internet via company websites and social media pages to identify deceptive and misleading advertising and marketing practices by businesses and industries. The data gathered will be used to update guidance for businesses and consumers and take action against those found to be transgressing Australian Consumer Law.

David Baggs adds that Global GreenTag welcomes the changes and hopes that it will also deal more strongly with companies, which are practicing another form of greenwashing "of the fake certification kind" and GreenTag has ample evidence of. He said:

"We have confronted a number of unconscionable or unknowing manufacturers who have illegally co-opted real Certification Marks and Certificates for products they are not entitled to use them on. GreenTag issues multiple 'Cease and Desist' lawyer warning letters each year calling for immediate removal of its Marks, and we have been 100% successful in having them taken down." He adds:

"There are also manufacturers who need to be more vigilant and discerning when choosing bodies to certify their products. We have uncovered bogus certification bodies in Asia that con local manufacturers into paying for bogus certifications.

"One example locally was of a composite flooring manufacturer that paid good money for an 'EPD' (an EPD is a summary life cycle (LCA) assessment report) and received a single sheet certificate saying the product was 'Certified to have an EPD,' but there was no reporting orLCA behind it. The manufacturer would not believe they had been conned even when confirmed by GreenTag and refused to remove the 'certificate' from its website. We acted by terminating the certification process and ceased dealing with the client thereafter. That process eventually resulted in the ex-client acquiring a real EPD elsewhere. And we are glad they did."

For consumers and professionals wanting to avoid greenwashed products and materials for building projects, GreenTag advises to always source product information through independent, ACCC approved Certification Mark based, third-party product ecolabelling programs that are compliant with ISO 14024 and ISO 17065 standards (therefore obligated and third party reviewed to be truthful in advertising). To also seek programs, which engage transparent product declaration processes that are formally recognised by leading project rating schemes like Green Star®, WELL™, LEED® and the IS Infrastructure Sustainability Council rating scheme.

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MORE ABOUT GLOBAL GREENTAG INTERNATIONAL

Global GreenTag™ International Pty Ltd assesses products for all aspects of impacts on human health, ethical labour supply and the environment. The company was established in 2010 as a third party verified Conformance Conformity Assessment Body that conducts the award winning Global GreenTagCert™ certification program, and a third party, multi-criteria, consensus based and externally verified Type 1 Ecolabelling Program that complies and operates under strict International Standards. Global GreenTag is legally approved as a Certification Mark operator by the ACCC in Australia and by equivalent government agencies in NZ, USA, Canada, and South Africa.

Global GreenTag websites and all marketing collateral for every product certified by Global GreenTag is verified as 'fit for purpose' and compliant with ISO 14021. What's more, Global GreenTag's governance and its own external verification and certification against standards such as ISO 14024 (Ecolabelling), ISO 17065 (Conformance Assessment) and ISO 9001 (Quality Management) among others, is unparalleled.

Voted one of the Top 100 Most Trusted Brands in Australia for 3 years running, Global GreenTag currently has more than 16,000 products in certification by over 230 manufacturers with factories in more than 20 countries. Global GreenTag™ certified products are determined as healthy for use using the best science available, with the results being peer reviewed by highly qualified, external consultant Toxicologists.

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