In today’s world, as the need for businesses to demonstrate sustainable practices, including environmental performance, continues to gather pace, so do the risks of greenwashing.
Greenwashing is a form of marketing where misleading information may persuade the public that an organisation’s products, services, aims and policies are more environmentally friendly than they are. Under proposed legislation, companies could face multi-million pound fines for promoting their products with unverified environmental claims.
With disputes surrounding green claims on the rise across the UK, it’s time for businesses to pause and ensure they are not overselling their environmental benefits, or risk sowing mistrust and being reputationally and financially impacted.
Christopher Jockel, Principal Sustainability Consultant at Bureau Veritas, comments: “Green claims don’t have to be intentionally misleading to be labelled as greenwashing and in today’s fast moving business communications environment, the risk of conveying uncontrolled or unintentional misinformation, is high. Intense scrutiny and action against greenwashing is escalating worldwide, putting organisations and their leaders on notice regarding overstatements or misleading claims and incurring potential reputation and regulatory risk.
“Any short-term gain from erroneous, misleading, unsubstantiated, exaggerated, or posturing claims are overwhelmingly lost reputationally and possibly financially through fines in the medium and long term when the claim is debunked in public or in court.
“The challenge for companies to identify and mitigate greenwashing is complex which is why we have launched our informative webinar and downloadable guide to understanding Green Claims. Together, these provide a no nonsense, intuitive and digestible way to navigate they myriad of intricacies surrounding greenwashing.”
The UK Competition and Markets Authority – the competition regulator in United Kingdom – coordinated a global review of randomly selected websites and discovered that 40% of green claims made online could be misleading consumers.
Christopher concludes: “The benefits for businesses who successfully manage their Green Claims, are considerable. Not only will they reduce the risk of reputational and financial impacts, but companies can gain a competitive edge and in turn, increase customer retention, while building confidence in the information provided to customers, stakeholders and investors.
“At Bureau Veritas we take this risk of miscommunication seriously and our team of sustainability experts can help businesses by presenting range of solutions to detect and manage greenwashing, ensuring claims are accurate, reliable and not in any way misleading.”
To find out more about how the expert team at Bureau Veritas can detect and manage greenwashing, to ensure claims are accurate, reliable and not misleading, visit www.bureauveritas.co.uk/needs/managing-green-claims.