Greenpeace Australia Pacific has today asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to investigate whether environmental claims by Toyota are misleading or deceptive. 

The request, made by the Environmental Defenders Office on behalf of Greenpeace Australia Pacific, focuses on claims made by Toyota Motor Corporation regarding the environmental performance of its vehicles and its net-zero ambitions.  

“We believe Toyota Motor Corporation’s advertising is misleading Australian consumers by understating its cars’ emissions and overstating its commitment to clean transport,” said Lindsay Soutar, Director of Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s Electrify campaign. 

“Toyota Motor Corporation makes claims in its advertising that give the false impression the company is leading the transition to clean cars, but the truth is Toyota is not leading the transition but is acting globally to block the take-up of electric vehicles. 

“All companies have a duty to tell the truth about their products. That standard must apply especially to a company like Toyota, which is Australia’s largest and until now most-trusted car maker.  There needs to be a level playing field so that consumers can make informed choices about how to use their purchases to protect the environment. 

“Greenpeace Australia Pacific is making this complaint because we believe the car-buying public has a right to know the truth and must be empowered to make effective green choices.” 

Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s complaint alleges that Toyota misleadingly markets itself, making claims in its advertising that give the false impression the company is leading the transition to clean cars. 

Examples include: 

  • Toyota’s net zero by 2050 plans appear inconsistent with its current plans for car production  
  • Toyota is not seeking a rapid transition to eco-friendly cars and has a global track record of lobbying to delay, block or weaken vehicle emissions standards 
  • Toyota’s vehicles may not meet emission standards in real-world use as opposed to test conditions 

Environmental Defenders Office Managing Lawyer Kirsty Ruddock said: “The people — and, increasingly, the corporate regulators — are calling out these potentially misleading practices and holding these corporations to account. 

“If companies like Toyota continue to behave in this manner, they run the very real risk of eroding their social licence and seriously damaging their brand and their customer base.”