Sustainable Maritime Interiors - 2022 Report

112 Greenwashing While there are many rigorous and valuable standards, labels and certifications that are available to designers and manufacturers, there are also many that are too easy to acquire and are therefore misleading. The presence of a standard is not necessarily a reliable indicator of an organisation’s commitment to sustainability. It is important that businesses become familiar with the trusted systems within their sphere of work so that they can judge the claims being made by partner companies about their sustainability performance. Greenwashing is a persistent problem in business, with companies making claims to sustainable behaviour that do not stand up under closer examination. This undermines public trust in corporate statements and risks derailing urgent climate action. The EU Green Claims Law has been established to provide a binding template in order to ensure that information regarding green goals and achievements is verifiable and to encourage organisations to substantiate their claims. In the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued guidance on making environmental claims in September 2021, setting six principles that environmental claims must follow. These require claims to be truthful, accurate, clear and unambiguous; not to omit or hide important information; only to make fair and meaningful comparisons; to consider the full life cycle of the product or service; and to be substantiated. Signs of greenwashing According to Greenpeace, organisations engaged in greenwashing often give the game away with the following signs: • Token gestures such as promoting one ‘green’ feature, while ignoring other more important environmental issues. For example, switching to recyclable paper straws, while still using meat suppliers responsible for burning down forests • Not being specific or using very broad or poor definitions on purpose to cause misunderstanding. For example, using a recycling symbol on packaging without indicating which part is or can be recycled • No evidence to back up a claim, making it difficult to check • Using green buzzwords or images, like ‘non-toxic’, ‘all natural’, ‘eco conscious’ and ‘chemical-free’ • Carbon offsetting by paying others to reduce carbon emissions or take carbon out of the atmosphere. It still means lots of carbon goes into the atmosphere • Redundant claims. This is when the claim is not needed. For example, a company advertising a product as vegan or plant-based, when it would be anyway. Source: Greenpeace, Greenwash INTERNAT IONAL WI SDOM