The Commerce Commission has today released guidelines which inform businesses about their obligations surrounding carbon offset and neutrality claims and how they are affected by the Fair Trading Act.

"These carbon claim guidelines will supplement the green marketing guidelines released by the Commission last year. Together these guidelines will provide valuable resources to assist businesses to understand their obligations under the Fair Trading Act," said Adrian Sparrow, Commerce Commission Director of Fair Trading.

"Complaints received about environmental claims and the Fair Trading Act will be looked at on a case by case basis and will be assessed against the Commission's usual criteria. These guidelines will be used as a reference for evaluating those claims," said Mr Sparrow.

"While the guidelines aim to improve the accuracy of information provided to consumers about carbon-related claims, they do not attempt to give a technical explanation of the often complex area of carbon trading," said Mr Sparrow. "It is important that business still seek independent advice to ensure that they are complying with relevant legislation."

The guidelines on carbon claims are available for download from the Commerce Commission website under Guidelines for Carbon Claims.


The publication, Guidelines for green marketing, is available for download from the Commerce Commission website under Guidelines for Green Marketing.

The Fair Trading Act. Court penalties for breaching the Fair Trading Act can include fines of up to $200,000 for a company and $60,000 for an individual. Only the courts can decide if a representation has breached the Act.

The Commerce Commission acknowledges the support of Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for allowing their guidelines to be used as a basis for the New Zealand guidelines.