Australian Parents For Climate Action sue Energy Australia for greenwashing

In an Australian first, Australian Parents for Climate Action (AP4CA) has filed a claim in the Federal Court of Australia against EnergyAustralia for misleading over 400,000 consumers about the climate impact of its products.


AP4CA’s Legal Action Against EnergyAustralia


AP4CA alleges that EnergyAustralia is misleading customers by marketing its Go Neutral product as “carbon neutral” and having “a positive impact on the environment” when it is primarily generated by burning fossil fuels, which the company claims to have “offset” simply by buying carbon credits.


This will be the first Australian civil action brought against a company for marketing a specific consumer product as “carbon neutral” and follows recent agreement by lawmakers in the European Parliament to ban this act overseas.


Australian Parents for Climate Action


Dr Harriet Fesq, Board Chair, and Nic Seton, CEO of Australian Parents for Climate Action, outside the Law Courts in Sydney


AP4CA estimates that ‘Go Neutral’ customers spend hundreds of millions a year on fossil fuel energy while being led to believe that it is “carbon neutral”


Nic Seton, CEO of AP4CA, said: “Australian parents want our energy to be clean and renewable, because our children rely on us to create a safe and sustainable world for their future.


“We’ve had enough of power companies misleading us into buying polluting products. So we’re taking a stand against EnergyAustralia’s greenwashing on behalf of Australia’s parents and our children.


“We simply cannot solve the climate crisis while the world’s biggest polluters rely on buying ‘offsets’; it is not scientifically possible for fossil fuel-based products to be truly ‘carbon neutral’. ‘Offsets’ are a form of marketing spin based on creative accounting, allowing fossil-fuel burners to maintain climate destroying practices and delay decarbonisation.


“Consider the analogy of discovering your child smokes cigarettes. Your child can’t just pay other children not to smoke, and then tell you their smoking is “health neutral”. This is fundamentally deceptive behaviour and doesn’t solve the problem. Your child is still smoking.


“Why would we stand for it when energy companies mislead consumers into thinking their energy is good for the climate while continuing to pump climate-wrecking pollution into the atmosphere? These companies should instead be switching to genuinely sustainable and renewable energy.


“When companies burn fossil fuels, they harm the climate. It’s as simple as that. So when they use marketing spin like ‘offsets’ to justify business as usual, they’re cheating our kids out of a safe future.”


Legal Action Against ‘Carbon Neutral’ Marketing Claims


David Hertzberg, Senior Associate at Equity Generation Lawyers, representing AP4CA said, “This is the first case in Australia targeting the marketing of consumer products as ‘carbon neutral’.


“Our client argues that EnergyAustralia’s promotion of its ‘Go Neutral’ product amounts to misleading or deceptive conduct, which is a contravention of the Australian Consumer Law.


“If our client is successful, it will force EnergyAustralia to stop claiming that its ‘Go Neutral’ product is ‘carbon neutral’. It will also set a precedent for other companies, helping to strip back some of the greenwashing faced by everyday consumers.


“Consumers deserve to know the truth about what they are buying. And the truth is that fossil fuel energy can never be ‘carbon neutral’.”


EnergyAustralia is Australia’s third-largest carbon polluter and Australia’s third-largest energy company, with 1.6 million customers. It owns multiple power stations including Australia’s most carbon-intensive station located at Yallourn, Victoria, on top of retailing electricity and gas to consumers.


Parents who want to support AP4CA’s work against misleading advertising can sign their open letter to power companies at


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Australian Parents for Climate Action: Advocacy and Achievements


Australian Parents for Climate Action is Australia’s leading climate advocacy organisation for parents, carers, families and all who care about a safe future for kids, representing almost 20,000 active parents.


AP4CA has been at the forefront of securing renewable energy in schools, such as the NSW Smart Energy School Pilot Project. The NSW Smart Energy School Pilot Project (part of $71m awarded across TAS, WA and NSW) came into existence after a two-year AP4CA campaign attracted 12,000 signatories, pledges from 135 federal election candidates (including 23 elected representatives from all major parties and the crossbench), and strong support from the City of Sydney and NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell.