Be honest, don’t greenwash: four responsible changes to make your business greener
An expert from commercial LPG division at Flogas, comments: With the severe consequences of climate change becoming more apparent every year, many people across the world are gradually embracing an eco-friendlier mindset. Businesses are striving to play their part in safeguarding the planet.
However, over the years, some companies have attempted to exaggerate the true extent of their sustainability efforts. To appeal to a wider range of environmentally conscious consumers, some businesses have fallen foul of greenwashing.
In short, greenwashing is the process of providing misleading information about the eco-friendliness of a company’s products or services. Sadly, many global corporations have been found guilty of greenwashing in recent times. From Ryanair claiming to be Europe’s lowest emissions airline to H&M disguising the truth of its fast fashion, there are numerous unfortunate examples.
As a company owner or manager, it is vital to ensure you are not falling into the greenwashing trap. Not only does this not help the environment, but – if exposed – the consequences could be detrimental to your business’ reputation. In this respect, it would be wiser for companies to start thinking about how they can switch to a greener ethos. Why greenwash when, as a business, you can take several, effective measures to protect the wellbeing of your surroundings?
Here, with some insights from the commercial LPG division at Flogas, we take a look at some of the ways in which you can ditch greenwashing and search, instead, for responsible changes and solutions.
1. Carbon offsetting
One way to mitigate your business’ impact on the planet is to compensate for its carbon emissions. Carbon offsetting allows companies to balance their carbon footprint, therefore reducing the negative effect they might have on their surroundings.
There are several ways in which we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It can be through heating the office, charging electronic devices, travelling to and from headquarters, and even printing work documents. In these circumstances, using energy is inevitable. But carbon offsetting can reduce the impact by funding other projects elsewhere that are having a significant positive impact on the environment.
In this respect, you could consider investing in schemes such as tree planting, forest preservation, greener farming methods, or renewable energy programmes in developing countries. This way, your business will be actively supporting projects that are ‘making up’ for your own carbon emissions.
2. Switch to more sustainable options
Changing over to more sustainable energy options is another great, responsible solution that will keep your company away from greenwashing. This way, you will be getting your energy from sources that aren’t having a significant negative impact on the wellbeing of our planet.
In this respect, for instance, bioLPG is an excellent alternative. Obtained from renewable and sustainably-sourced materials such as biological fats and oil, it has a lower carbon footprint than conventional options.
Ultimately, your dedication to safeguarding your surroundings will get you in the good books of customers and consumers. Even better, you won’t have to resort to greenwashing your efforts.
3. Educate your staff
In order to drive your efforts to make your business more eco-friendly, it is important that your employees are aware of the importance of sustainability too. As a manager, this is one of the easiest and most effective steps you can take.
For instance, you could send them occasional reminders about turning the lights off in unoccupied rooms. You could even organise some entertaining activities, from ‘green’ bingo and environmental quizzes, to educate your staff and keep them committed to sustainability. In this respect, the options are endless! It is important to remember that a business that claims to be green in public should keep the same philosophy behind closed doors as well.
4. Be transparent
It is crucial to inform your customers about your sustainable efforts too. Make sure, however, that you are honest and transparent about your aims and successes. Be clear and specific about the sustainability benefits of your products and services. There is simply no need to greenwash by using difficult or misleading language.
If your business is not completely green yet, do not be afraid to let the consumer know. Most will understand that such a significant process cannot simply happen overnight. Instead, tell them where you are in your sustainability journey and highlight your company’s progress to date.
To conclude, there is no hiding that climate change is a pressing problem. People across the world are starting to realise its damaging effects on our environment and are playing their part in trying to mitigate their impact. Hence, consumers are increasingly attracted to green businesses and sustainable services and products.
Many global companies have provided misleading information about their eco-friendly efforts. However, taking environmentally conscious steps is a simple way to avoid falling foul of greenwashing. We hope this article will give you some inspiration on how to go about making some sustainable, responsible changes.
Chris Borneman speaking at MGI Worldwide AGM, Vancouver