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Oracle of Delphi

GM Holden admits to “grrrrrreen” washing

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GM Holden admits to “grrrrrreen” washing

Friday, 19 September 2008 20:17 The Federal Court has found Swedish car brand Saab guilty of making false and misleading claims in its "Grrrrrreen" campaign, which promoted the environmentally friendly nature of its Saab range of vehicles.

The Federal Court has found Swedish car brand Saab guilty of making false and misleading claims in its "Grrrrrreen" campaign, which promoted the environmentally friendly nature of its Saab range of vehicles.

Saab Australia is owned by GM Holden, a subsidiary of US car giant General Motors.

Between 27 July and 1 September 2007, GM Holden published newspaper and magazine advertisements across Australia promoting the Saab range of motor vehicles.

The advertisements, under the headline statement "Grrrrrreen", contained the words and phrases, "Grrrrrreen", "Every Saab is green. With carbon emissions neutral across the entire Saab range" and "Shift to neutral".

The ads also suggested GM Holden had taken measures so that the carbon dioxide emissions from any Saab vehicle would be neutral over the life of that car. The ads said that in the first year following the purchase of a Saab, GM Holden would plant, on behalf of the purchaser, 17 native trees which would offset the carbon dioxide emissions for the life of that motor vehicle.

These claims caught the eye of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which launched an investigation.

“These claims were misleading. The carbon dioxide emissions from any Saab motor vehicle would not be neutral over the life of that motor vehicle, and the planting of 17 native trees would only provide a carbon dioxide emission offset for a single year's operation of the motor vehicle,” the ACCC said in a statement.

Yesterday, the Federal Court declared that GM Holden contravened sections 52 and 53© of the Trade Practices Act by engaging in misleading conduct.

The court also ordered GM Holden to pay the ACCC's costs and made a series of court-enforceable undertakings whereby GM Holden has agreed to:

Refrain from republishing the advertisements.

Retrain all its Saab marketing staff in relation to misleading and deceptive conduct in the context of “green” marketing claims to make them aware of their responsibilities under the act.

Have the training reviewed by an independent third party and have the reviewer provide a report to the ACCC about the training.

In another act of penance, GM Holden has told the ACCC it will plant 12,500 native trees – it believes that is enough trees to offset the carbon dioxide emissions for the life of all of the Saabs sold during the campaign.

GM Holden was also ordered to pay the ACCC’s costs.

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel says the case should act as a warning that companies need to give a lot more thought to green claims.

“Vague, unsubstantiated, misleading, false or deceptive environmental or green claims not only are at risk of breaching the act but they also reduce consumer confidence in such claims and disadvantage ethical traders doing the right thing,” he said.

"The ACCC will continue to be vigilant on 'greenwashing' and will not hesitate to take enforcement action, including Federal Court action, against traders who make false or misleading representations to consumers, as has been demonstrated by this case."

Link: http://www.smartcompany.com.au/manufacturing-77.html

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Why would they do something like this? The fact checkers failed on this one.

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Why would they do something like this? The fact checkers failed on this one.

sloppy work...high enviro creditials is highly valued and shouldn't be messed with. could damage the brand if you're not careful.

mind you, i did see this promotion some time back. There hasn't been any saab promotion for quite some time.

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