Greenwashing creating a ‘false sense of security’ on climate change

That’s the claim of the outgoing Chair of the Environment Agency

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The Environment Agency’s outgoing Chair will stress in one of her final speeches that ignoring greenwashing will lure the world into a false sense of security when it comes to mitigating climate change.

Emma Howard Boyd is expected to state that “if we fail to identify and address greenwashing, we allow ourselves false confidence”, when she delivers her speech following the Climate Change Committee’s report released last week.

The report claimed that current government plans for net zero won’t be delivered with what is currently in place.

Greenwashing is where a company claims it is more environmentally friendly than it actually is, using advertising or any other form of public messaging.

At the UK Centre for Green Finance and Investment Annual Forum, Ms Howard Boyd will reportedly explain: “The more businesses are transparent about their plans to transition to net zero and prepare for climate shocks, the easier it is to benchmark best practice, set standards and celebrate the companies that really are delivering on their commitments.

“As with the government’s ambition for net zero by 2050, delivering on climate resilience and nature recovery requires robust, consistent and trusted data.

“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.”

The Chair will leave her post this September and will call for the government to not only quash greenwashing but also bolster climate finance: “Just 5% of climate finance goes towards resilience and virtually none of that comes from the private sector.”

She is looking for the government to consider “costs and benefits of resilient investment both nationally and by economic sectors; what trajectory that investment should follow and the appropriate balance between public and private investment.”