A quick scroll through social media or a news website and you’re likely to see a post about the environment. The internet is full of articles providing ‘top tips for eco-friendly living’. Packed with ideas, they help us change our bad habits, stop climate change, and save the world.
But what happens when you take a more zoomed out look at what is going on? There is no denying the power of millions of small changes we can make as individuals, but what are businesses doing to stop climate change? Companies, haulage and energy production accounts for around half of all the UKs harmful emissions.
The responsibility of businesses
In a survey of 2,500 people, 77% felt that online businesses and brands had “an obligation to protect, conserve, and benefit the environment”, but only 1 in 10 businesses is assessing climate change risk as a priority!
It seems right that when there are issues with the products and services we buy, addressing the change needs to come from the top. The easiest way to reduce plastic pollution is to produce less of it. And addressing the CO2 emissions in the supply chain is more effective than boycotting individual businesses.
Many industries are keen to show they’re making improvements in these areas. They offer green initiatives that encourage recycling of their packaging or advertising campaigns to get their customers to change their habits.
The question remains, however, if this is enough? Or are they just marketing gimmicks aimed at placating their customers so they continue to part with their hard-earned cash?
What is greenwashing?
The term ‘greenwashing’ was coined back in the 1980s. It describes companies that over-inflate their environmental and ethical efforts. Companies will use clever marketing to appeal to eco-conscious customers despite serious pitfalls in their practices.
One global review showed that 40% of green claims made by online businesses were misleading. This causes a big problem when it comes to customers making sustainable decisions, leading to a lack of accountability with these corporations.
It was even reported some brands were spending more on marketing ‘greenwashing’ initiatives, then actually tackling the environmental issues.
How to stop climate change?
If businesses are more focused on maintaining appearances, then it’s fair to question how these changes can be made at all. Fortunately, there are some strategies that work.
The first is governmental encouragement. These can either be through penalties for failing to meet targets, or via incentives for taking the steps towards more eco-friendly practices. In theory these incentives should be hugely motivational. However one study showed that the UK would need to cut its carbon emissions by 78% to meet their net zero target of 2035. This suggests there is still a lack of pressure from the state despite the UK hosting COP26 later this year.
Another method that can work in conjunction with these incentives is for consumers to realise the purchasing power they have over brands. There is a long history of customers boycotting companies for bad practices and inaction. But with misleading information coming from the companies themselves, consumers need to know which businesses are actually walking the walk.
Simple, individual actions lead to massive change
Finding out which companies are genuinely making a positive impact and those who aren’t, is the first step. Impact Score® has this information in their handy app.
Just search a company and it will show how they fair on six metrics, including CO2 emissions, personalised to your values and preferences. Your feedback can be directly given through the app to alert those brands that are falling short of your expectations.
Once again, it falls on the shoulders of the citizens of the world to drive the change that is needed. But the combined efforts of millions of people should never be underestimated.
Take action now!
With just a few clicks of a free app, everyone can help create positive change in the world. Find out more about Impact Score® at https://www.impactscore.app/.