An example of this is Amazon Inc renaming it’s new purchase the Seattle’s Key Arena into the Climate Pledge Arena—and we all know Amazon’s climate pledges are pretty lame. Or that H&M’s “conscious line” is an environmental joke…Or that Nespresso’s capsule buy back campaign is simply diverting our attention from the truth: they produce lot’s of unnecessary waste.
5 ways to spot a company that is greenwashing:
Are their environmental goals ambitious or ambiguous?
- The science is clear: lower emissions by 2050 to avoid climate catastrophe.
- Is the company placing strong targets and commitments? If not it’s mostly greenwashing.
How transparent is the company?
- Companies’ often disclose part of the story. By international standards the carbon footprint should be calculated by it’s own operations, it’s supply chains’ emissions, and the emissions produced by the customers.
- If the company isn’t telling you the full scope it’s probably greenwashing.
Do they have a short-term or a long-term timeline?
- Is their target to be net-zero or carbon neutral by 2050 or by 2030? Do they have both a short-term and long-term strategy?
- If the company has a very long-term timeline it’s most likely greenwashing.
How much do the goals rely on off-setting?
- Supporting forestry projects is a great idea, however only if it’s just part of the company’s emission cut goals. Carbon off-setting can pose several complexities: eg. what happens if the trees are cut down?
- If the company isn’t also tackling its production emissions then it’s most likely greenwashing.
Do they have certifications to back their claims?
- By now there are many certifications that substantiate organic and sustainable productions: eg. organic cotton.
- No certifications are usually a bad sign, if the company uses common materials or primary goods then more likely than not it should have a certification for the production process.
Also companies have realised that they can charge a premium for “eco-friendly” brands—a study in Sweden revealed that people often think an eco-friendly coffee brand will taste better than a regular brand, and thus will pay more. Therefore making sure that the brand is true to its claims can save you some hard earned pennies.