Greenwashing
Most Common Claims and How to Avoid Them…

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting has become increasingly important. With this also the prevalence of claims and accusations of Greenwashing. What’s Greenwashing? When a company purports to be environmentally conscious for marketing purposes but actually isn’t making any notable sustainability efforts.

The act of exaggerating sustainable and socially responsible practices can have severe consequences on a corporate entity’s reputation and on consumer trust, potentially leading to legal and financial repercussions.

Here are the most common greenwashing claims:

  • Inadequate or ambiguous net zero emissions pledges: In an analysis of 24 major international firms, that have put themselves forward as climate leaders, the Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor found that these firms’ plans amounted to emissions cuts of just over one-third by the time they have pledged to become net zero. The report said the firms’ climate strategies are mired by ambiguous commitments, offsetting plans that lack credibility and emission scope exclusions, resulting in 15 of the 24 being judged to be of low or very low integrity.
  • Promoting renewable energy while heavily relying on fossil fuels: Numerous cases have surfaced where companies have touted their commitment to renewable energy and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions while relying heavily on fossil fuels. This contradictory behavior not only misleads consumers but also undermines the credibility of the company’s sustainability claims.
  • Falsely claiming to use sustainable raw materials or packaging: Another common example, particularly in the apparel industry, is the claim of using green materials and sustainable packaging while still implementing practices that are environmentally damaging. Some examples include single-use plastics and water consumption.
  • Misleading certification claims: Some companies may even go as far as to advertise false or exaggerated environmental certifications to make their products appear more environmentally-friendly than they actually are.
  • Cherry-picking environmental facts: Some companies highlight certain environmentally-friendly aspects of their products or operations while ignoring other less sustainable factors, including funding climate change denial groups.
  • Inflating the relevance of green product lines: Companies may create a line of products that are marketed as environmentally friendly, but these ultimately comprise a small percentage of their overall product offerings.

We welcome your feedback, suggestions and questions.

Monique Skruzny: monique@inspirgroup.com +1-212-661-2243

 

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