Make our Move

We’ve seen a consistent series of climate disasters in the news, we’ve felt it in the weather, we may have read it in recent reports – it’s not surprising if we’re feeling overwhelmed at the state of the world. What can we do to have a positive impact? What does ‘Net Zero’ and ‘COP26’ really mean for us? With so much jargon and abstract information flying around it can be confusing to know where to start or what role we play. 

In fact 2 in 3 of us are concerned with the impact of climate change, yet only 1 in 5 know what action we can take to reduce our impact. Over a third of us would like clearer guidance on what would make a difference and where to start. So we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve pulled together 12 clear actions you can take that'll have a positive impact - individually and collectively through engaging your community, your workplace and your MP.

Let's make our move, together. 

What is greenwashing? (and how to spot it) 

Green washing is behaviour or activities that make people believe a company, government or organisation is doing more to address sustainability (environmental and social) than they actually are. Sneaky!  

Why is it a problem? 

  • It misleads people who are trying to make sustainable and ethical decisions 
  • Makes it hard to know and believe which brands are really doing good things 
  • They ‘get away with it’ and even profit from it, instead of making real impactful changes for the environment.  
  •  For example, a study of 12 of the biggest British and European fashion brands websites found that 60% of the environmental claims could be classed as "unsubstantiated" and "misleading"*  

How do I spot it? 

Keep an eye out for companies, brands or organisations that: 

  • make green claims and put large marketing spend behind this, but don’t share any evidence of how they’re putting it into action, or have stats and facts to back it up.  
  • use ague language such as sustainable, recyclable, natural and ethical without any further explanation or evidence 
  • don’t have a sustainability agenda or environmental reportingAre they transparent with details like their supply chains and ethical standards?  
  • overstate their efforts for e.g. a brand that introduces a new product with recycled materials, but ignores issues such as their overall carbon emissions, pollution and living wages for their employees.

 If they fall into any of these, they’re likely greenwashing.  

What’s being done about it? 

There are regulators such as the Competition Markets Authority (CMA) or the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) for this, and if a business can’t prove their claims, they could be taken to court. 

In November 2020, the CMA launched an investigation into misleading environmental claims, which revealed that 40 % of green claims made online could be misleading consumers.**

 “The Green Claims Code” is a go-to document for those wishing to talk about their sustainability efforts. If you’re a business, take a look!  

And what can I do about it?  

Use your voice, don’t be afraid to ask brands for the evidence or question them on the things you care about. You can even go a step further and report them on Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline if you think they might be greenwashing! Speak to friends, family, colleagues- they might have already done some of the research for you and can provide recommendations. 

How I can support the ones who are actually doing good things?  

  • Look for industry-wide standards or certifications such as B Corp, Fairtrade, Soil Association to name a few.  
  • Apps such as Provenance provide supply chain transparency, or apps like CoGo help rank brands on different social and environmental criteria.  
  • Support companies that integrate all forms of sustainability (environmental and social) into everything they do all year round 

*Synthetics Anonymous, 2021
**Gov UK, 2020 

Want to cut more jargon?

What does Net Zero mean, what actually is a carbon footprint? Check out our series of 'Cut the Jargon & The Carbon' definitions. 

 OTHER CLIMATE DEFINITIONS

Keen to try a new climate action? 

Check out our list of the 12 most impactful actions you can take for the environment and your community. Let’s #MakeOurMove together.

TAKE ACTION