The Modern-Day-Minefield of Greenwashing
Banks making claims they are investing in sustainable business when the majority of their investments are not. Fast fashion making bold sustainability statements without the proper ambition or data behind it. Oil companies adding solar panels highly visible on their gas stations. We’ve seen it all.
You’ve most likely heard it before. Climate neutral corporations which seem to have all their emissions under control. Too good to be true? Most likely.
What is quite recent though are that NGOs, consumers and others suing these corporations for false claims. The EU is also taking actions to tackle false environmental claims by ensuring that buyers receive reliable, comparable and verifiable information.
Most communication departments might not even be aware that the claims they make are false. They might just be overestimating their effectiveness, rely on inaccurate emission data, or forget to include the whole value chain.
Best way to avoid Greenwashing?
Well, the best way is to make sure that you have control of your emissions and then specifically your Scope 3 emissions. With CSRD and a better control of your entire value chain you will be able to communicate with confidence.
Do your due diligence when it comes to your suppliers. You can launch fantastic initiatives, like IKEA with plans to eliminate plastic from consumer packaging by 2028, but then get under scrutiny for having relied on a certification which did not uphold standards. They ended up selling wood that suppliers illegally sourced from Russia.
Communication is and shall be an integrated part of your sustainability efforts. Reliant on actual data and crafted with all aspects in mind. A good way to do this is through a cross functional team (legal/communication/ESG) to ensure the accuracy and that you highlight the initiatives that matters the most.
We are all turning increasingly tired of false claims and empty words. We can only ensure real impact when we rely on data that matters. Marketing campaigns and ESG communication disconnected from actual impacts are a way of the past.