Greenwashing: how can companies do better?

Greenwashing - how can companies do better

Following our previous article on the introduction of greenwashing, we are bringing some actionable tips for your company on how to avoid greenwashing and how to make accurate green claims. It is important to curtail greenwashing because it can derail our efforts into meeting SDGs and carbon emission targets.

Notice and avoid the sins of greenwashing

Environmental Health Perspectives outlined “7 sins” of greenwashing, including:

  • Sin of the hidden trade-off: not revealing all the environmental costs of a product, e.g., claiming that a shirt is using sustainable cotton, but not revealing that the manufacturing process was highly polluting;
  • Sin of no proof: committing a claim without providing substantial evidence, e.g., claiming that they use recycled fabrics for garment production without providing evidence; and
  • Sin of vagueness: claim is very broad and non-specific, e.g., claiming that a shirt is “sustainable” without providing any explanations.

Start by noticing how greenwashing can be manifested so you could avoid committing these “sins.”

Have a strong infrastructure 

Now that you have a deeper understanding of how greenwashing can show up, consider having a comprehensive environmental management system (EMS). An EMS is a framework that enables companies to reduce their environmental impacts through reviewing, evaluating, and improving environmental performances. The framework certified by ISO 14001 is the most commonly used among EMSs.

Find out more about EMS in Hong Kong here

Gather green credibility

The next thing you can do is to establish green credibility. One way to achieve this is to take part in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), which provides best practices for impact and sustainability reporting. Comprehensive sustainability reporting not only allows stakeholders to understand your business practices and impacts, but backs your green claims with evidence. This is similar to the “inventory reporting” method we mentioned in our last article.

Learn more about GRI in East Asia here.

Let’s DO it!

In this article, we provided you with three concrete ways to prevent greenwashing. The last thing to DO now is to implement these strategies. Come talk to us if you want to take your company’s green efforts to the next level. Our doors are always open!

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