Greenwashing has matured - The 6 types of Greenwashing
Since our last article on Greenwashing back in March 2020 it seems that the issue surrounding the phenomena has matured. Most companies and brands have realised that they can’t operate without positive action on tacking the climate and environmental emergencies and their impact on people and the planet. Whilst many companies and brands will be taking positive steps to minimise their footprint, there are brands and companies who still practice greenwashing.
So what is Greenwashing?
In the March 2020 article we mentioned the watch company which asked to be on our platform by claiming they were Vegan. For us, the fact that they didn’t have a leather strap on their watch was not enough for us to promote their range. They were greenwashing and enhancing or fabricating the environmental impact of their product,
Since then greenwashing has become more sophisticated.
John Willis, Director of Research at Planet Tracker* comments, “Around the world, regulators are starting to confront the growing greenwashing issue. By identifying the various iterations that greenwashing comes in, we hope to enable investors and consumers to be more mindful when making environmentally led decisions.”
So what iterations of greenwashing are there? John Willis states:
“Greenwashing activities range from seemingly innocuous strategies that market a product inaccurately, to practices that emphasise a singular green activity to intentionally distract from broader damaging environmental policies. In the report (link below) , Planet Tracker identifies six types of greenwashing:
- Greencrowding is built on the belief that you can hide in a crowd to avoid discovery, relying on safety in numbers. If sustainability policies are being developed, it is likely that the group will move at the speed of the slowest
- Greenlighting occurs when company communications (including advertisements) spotlight a particularly green feature of its operations or products, however small, in order to draw attention away from environmentally damaging activities being conducted elsewhere.
- Greenshifting is when companies imply that the consumer is at fault and shift the blame on to them.
- Greenlabelling is a practice where marketers call something green or sustainable, but a closer examination reveals this to be misleading.
- Greenrinsing refers to a company regularly changing its ESG targets before they are achieved.
- Greenhushing refers to corporate management teams under-reporting or hiding their sustainability credentials in order to evade investor scrutiny’
The full report is available here: Planet Tracker Report
Why is Greenwashing such an issue for Ateliers Verts?
We rate every product on the Ateliers Verts platform for its sustainable and eco-conscious attributes. So we are always alert to the claims being made and declared by products and brands. In most cases it's not enough for a company to produce a product unsustainably and then say they are planting trees to offset that co2 emitting production.
Here is the Ateliers Verts® Rating System
With many thanks to John Willis and Planet Tracker
*What is Planet Tracker?
Planet Tracker is an award-winning non-profit financial think tank aligning capital markets with planetary boundaries. Created with the vision of a financial system that is fully aligned with a net-zero, resilient, nature positive and just economy well before 2050, Planet Tracker generates break-through analytics that reveal both the role of capital markets in the degradation of our ecosystem and show the opportunities of transitioning to a zero-carbon, nature positive economy.
Planet Tracker is an initiative of Tracker Group Ltd., founded by Mark Campanale and Nick Robins, which is registered in the UK at Companies House as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, registered in England with number 08906960 and a wholly owned subsidiary of Investor Watch.
(Header Image © Planet Tracker)
©Ateliers Verts Ltd. 2023
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