The future is green

Greenwashing or the ‘green sheen’ has been more noticeable in recent years as many brands attempt to market their public appearance to be more green than it really is. But the EU and UK are cracking down and new legislation is on its way.

Earth with green paint running down in the background

The event featured insight from Dr Aideen O’Dochartaigh (Assistant Professor in Accounting at the Dublin City University Business School) and Rory Brown (Head of Sustainability at Greenpixie) and centered around upcoming EU and UK sustainability changes and businesses preparing for what is coming next.

 

Currently the EU and the UK are leaders in sustainability reporting and legislation, particularly within Greenwashing in advertising and marketing. Greenwashing is when companies make false sustainability claims based on a notion that a purchase or investment in their products and services will result in a sustainable action. 


We have all seen adverts for products correctly highlighting the sustainable aspects, but how many of these claims are true? With sustainability correctly at the forefront of a consumer's buying habits, this will crack down on companies incorrectly claiming to be sustainable when they are not. As recent as January 2022, new legislation came into force, enforcing fines for incorrect claims to advertisers and marketers. 


With current climate issues ever present, both the EU and UK will be looking to revamp its sustainability policies and ensure businesses are held more accountable for their sustainability policies. The EU are working on their policy updates currently, including reporting aspects and making companies report their carbon emissions. 


Companies will be required to invest in independent verification from checking over these reports. This is looking likely to happen in early 2024. With the UK leaving the EU, the UK are still working on their new policies and have not provided indications on timelines. The advice is for companies to work towards the EU objectives and timelines. 


With 2024 fast-approaching (it will come round sooner than we anticipate) advice is for companies to prepare beforehand so this is not a last minute task, which takes time, resources and ultimately costs businesses money. Preparations can include:


  • Resource this as if it was as serious as your financial accounts.

  • Communicating and coordinating with all staff. All levels of the organization need to be aware. 

  • Think hard about your sustainability claims and where you can improve these. 

  • Innovation through collaboration. Join networks and get ideas through peers etc.

  • Set performance goals. The end goal is for companies to reduce emissions.


Are you thinking ‘but I am just a small business, I won’t be targeted’?. They will only target these multinational corporations?! Think again. Companies can potentially face fines of up to 10% of their earnings if they fail to comply.


So what does this mean for digital sustainability? It may be a small part of the puzzle but a very important one. Make sure you consider the carbon footprint of all the digital touchpoints in your company. Is your website designed and built using Sustainable Web Design practices? I often notice even the most positive brands, such as B Corp’s, fall flat when testing their website carbon scores. Is your marketing strategy video heavy? Could you take a lighter approach? 


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At the end of the day, we all need to get on board with these policy updates, regardless of business size and industry. We need a planet to do business on and if this is a small change as part of bigger changes, then we welcome it. If you would like to know how to reduce your digital carbon footprint get in touch


Making your website as fast and as light-weight as possible is a key component to making it an eco-friendly site but it doesn’t just stop there. Read our blog to get more insights 

Blog written by Stephen

Written by Stephen

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