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Corporate greenwashing: how to avoid it

Updated: Nov 27, 2023


Simone from Vision Factory

Author: Simone Bellezza

Date of Publication: 28/02/2023







Greenwashing is a practice used by companies, which sometimes are unaware of it. Specifically, through greenwashing, they communicate their product and service as green and sustainable while they aren’t. As a result, this practice could lead to a decrease in the brand reputation of the company instead of an increase. However, this happens only if it is used by consumers as more a sustainable one than others.



What's greenwashing?

Greenwashing and environmentally friendly companies

"Greenwashing" is knows as the effort a company makes in order to seem environmentally friendly, reducing its environmental impact. It's a dishonest marketing ploy used to attract a specific group of customers. These are the ones who like to purchase goods and services from companies who care about the environment. Therefore, companies emphasize the ‘green’ aspect to compensate for less sustainable practices.



How to avoid greenwashing


Claims shouldbe unambiguous and precise, leavingno room for interpretation. If a product's environmental friendliness isn't followed up with specificclaims and the evidence to support them, the claim is ambiguousand worthless.



No lies in the claims


Greenwashing: no more lies

To avoid unintentional greenwashing, companies couldfirst start to make no misleading statements, helpedby:

  • Make clear claimsabout the environmental advantages that are simple to comprehend and confirm.

  • Avoid exaggerating advantages by using half-truths.

  • Indicatewhat the claims are referringto, for example, if a corporation has improved the product's production processrather than the packaging it comes in.

  • Share clearly the company's strategies for cutting its carbon impactopenly.

  • Make sure that certifications and accreditations are reliable and significant

  • Don't force greenimagery into packaging, marketing, or advertising.



Save resources for sustainability projects


Instead of investing in the marketingplan, the budget could be spent on initiatives environmentally friendly to reduceemissions.


Resources and money can be used for:

  • Gathering data aboutemissions.

  • Locating places where emissions are high.

  • Establishing goals based on science.

  • Creating disclosure reportsthat adhere to approved reporting standards throughout the world.

  • Looking at methodsto make processes, goods, and services more efficient.

  • Accurately updating internaland external stakeholders on status and claims.

  • Educating key stakeholders about efforts and operational improvements connected to such initiatives.



Data Verification Through Reputable Third-Party Audits or Accreditations


Greenwashing, green, sustainable, brand reputation, environmentally friendly, LEED certification, The Science Based Target initiative (SBTi), ISO 14001

In order to defend themselves against charges of greenwashing, businesses can also employaccreditations and report in accordance with internationally recognized carbon accounting reporting standards.


The following are some instancesof trustworthy certifications and standards:


  • With a gradingsystem that spans from certifiedto platinum, LEED certification assists businesses in getting their facilities approvedfor their environmental efficiency.

  • The Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) assists businesses and financial institutions in setting net zero objectives and advancing towardthem in accordance with the most recent scientific findings.

  • CDP assists businesses to assist and managethe risks and opportunities relatedto climate change, water security, and deforestation in disclosing their environmental effects.

  • Companies may monitor and report their environmental impactsusing the toolsand advice provided by ISO 14001.

Consumers, investors, and other businessescan be certain that a company's environmental statements are true if they align with these accreditations.



Utilize Carbon Accounting Platformsto Calculate Data


Utilizing softwareplatforms like accounting and climate management systems is anotherway for businesses to shieldthemselves from examination (CMAP). A data trail may be used with CMAP and comparable platforms to guarantee that environmental data and reporting are completely correct and transparent. Additionally, they link to several disclosure systems and have includedaccreditations in their platform, which enables businesses to automatically alignwith them.


These are the main tips and advice that could be useful for companies to avoid corporate greenwashing.



 

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