12th Jul 2022
3 Min Read

Climate - what’s changed?

People & Change

As the world heats up, the topic of climate change has never been hotter. Here’s three things that need to be on your radar.

1. Corporate greenwashing is undermining preparation for climate shocks

“Widespread greenwashing is compromising efforts to prepare for climate impacts,”– or so the Environment Agency chair Emma Howard Boyd warned at this year’s UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment Annual Forum.

Emma also said: “If we fail to identify and address greenwashing, we allow ourselves false confidence that we are already addressing the causes and treating the symptoms of the climate crisis.”

What does this really mean? Fuzzy or falsified climate claims are slowing actual progress. So let’s make sure we avoid this. That means we all need to robustly challenge ourselves and our stakeholders to be honest and authentic about the progress we’re making.

Are you at risk of greenwashing internally?

  • Have you considered the environmental impact of your own internal comms operations?
  • How certain are you that your intranet’s servers are powered by zero-carbon energy?
  • Are your print materials from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper sources?

One action you can take is to start with your team’s own ‘climate charter’, acknowledging your own impact and stating your climate ambitions.

2. The UK government will bring in a ‘green taxonomy’ on companies by the end of 2023.

The UK green taxonomy is a framework to help clamp down on unsubstantiated or exaggerated claims about green investments. By setting consistent language for everyone to use, it aims tomake it easier to compare the environmental reporting from different organisations.

The framework is designed to make it easier for investors and consumers to understand how a firm is impacting the environment, positively or negatively. Ultimately, it’s hoped that this leads to more informed decisions that will boost investment in green solutions. This is following in the footsteps of the EU green taxonomy.

Why does this matter?

The pressure is increasing on communicators to better collaborate, critique and protect campaigns from greenwashing–and it will continue to grow as those all-important climate deadlines loom.

Creating adaptable solutions to fight the climate crisis needs robust, consistent and trusted data–and sustainability communications needs the same approach.

We recommend you adopt the same objectives as set by your sustainability team, and deliver these with:

  • A consistent narrative thread that demonstrates impact after impact time after time.
  • Robust, infallible stories that stand up to scrutiny to show where you’re genuinely making a difference.
  • Credible, authentic voices that give life and meaning to combat greenwashing.

Your audience is quickly gaining a greater understanding of this topic and a growing number of them are pressing for your business to do more. Providing them with quality, substantiated evidence of your progress is your opportunity. Seize it.

3. New website to expose misleading environment claims

greenwash.com aims to expose false and misleading sustainability claims made on packaging of household goods and food products to better inform how we choose what we buy.

What does this mean for internal communicators?

Colleagues are your business’s biggest critic, but you knew that. They’re closest to how things are done, sniffing out the good, bad and ugly. Rather than watching it play out on your channels, or (even worse) on social media; get ahead of the game and build a robust two-way communication strategy that means you’re in the driving seat of your sustainability story.

Feeling inspired? Or overwhelmed?

So are your colleagues. So is every other business. So are governments, charities, NGOs, newsrooms and heads of state in every part of the world. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s a global problem and we’ll only start to resolve it by working with each other. Talk to us about the challenges you’re facing and let’s work on solutions. Get in touch harry.grout@scarlettabbott.co.uk

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