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“Sustainability is a hot topic – and many businesses are rushing out promises and making commitments and claims to sustainability that they simply can’t back up or implement,” says Gary Lewis, chief commercial officer at KTC Edibles.
“This can result in greenwashing, which can be hugely damaging to businesses. In addition to undermining the basic concept of sustainable practices, greenwashing prevents real, tangible progress from being made – and we should all be wary of it.”
Greenwashing has no legal definition, but research by the European Union found that more than half of the green claims it studied were vague or misleading, and a study by Sensu Insight found that nearly a third of Brits expect companies’ environmental claims to be exaggerated. Another 14% don’t believe them at all.
Jason Gibb, founder of Bread & Jam, which is running a Future Summit to help food and drink businesses become more sustainable, expects to see the conversation around net zero greenwashing grow this year.
“One of the biggest outcomes of COP27 was the clampdown on net zero greenwashing, and there are loads of retail and food businesses that are making bold claims that are not based on Science Based Targets (SBTs). They’ll need to get their houses in order, and quite right too,” he says.
In practice, Gary says that rooting out greenwashing can simply involve staying up to date with regulatory information or checking that all key emissions data is recent and accurate.