Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Justice, Senator Lynn Boylan, is calling for the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) to act following reports that electricity companies are defying an adjudication of the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) over ‘100% renewable’ claim.
Senator Boylan said:
“The defiance of energy companies to adhere to the ASAI ruling is the clearest evidence we have that greenwashing is profitable for business.
“Even worse is the fact that not only are customers bumping up the balance sheet of energy companies, but they are also paying more in their electricity bills as a result.
“Guarantees of Origin Certificates undercut actual investment in renewables, keep electricity prices high and undermine the efforts of genuine players in the renewable energy sector.
“However, so long as misleading customers is more profitable than trading honestly, nothing is going to change.
“The ASAI is a self-regulatory body which means they rely on the co-operation of the advertising industry to uphold their standards. While the ASAI staff do commendable work, the system is not always effective at enforcing its rules, especially when it comes to greenwashing.
“We need the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to look at greenwashing urgently, starting with the energy sector. The equivalent organisation in the Netherlands is showing the way.
“The CCPC has the power to investigate companies suspected of engaging in misleading advertising, prosecute companies for breaches of consumer protection law, which can result in significant fines and other sanctions.
“Without an effective regulatory body willing to use its powers, we risk continued greenwashing by companies seeking to exploit the growing demand for renewable energy.”