Greenwashing ‘creates false confidence in the climate crisis’

Greenwashing undermines climate impact preparedness efforts, Environment Agency outgoing president will warn (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

Failure to identify greenwashing creates false confidence in how the climate crisis is being dealt with, the Environment Agency’s outgoing chairman will warn.

Achieving climate resilience and nature’s recovery will require “robust, consistent and reliable data”, is expected to say Emma Howard Boyd.

His warning comes after the Committee on Climate Change’s latest report, published last week, warned that the government’s plans to tackle global warming will not meet legal emission reduction targets in the decades to come. come.

If we fail to identify and fight against greenwashing, we allow ourselves false confidence

Emma Howard Boyd

Ms Howard Boyd, speaking at the UK Center for Greening Finance and Investment’s annual forum at the Institution of Civil Engineers, will call on companies to be transparent about their net zero plans.

She is expected to say: “The more transparent companies are about their plans to transition to net zero and prepare for climate shocks, the easier it is to compare best practices, set standards and celebrating companies that truly deliver on their commitments.

“As with the government’s ambition to achieve net zero by 2050, achieving climate resilience and nature’s recovery requires strong, consistent and reliable data.

“If we fail to identify and tackle greenwashing, we allow ourselves to believe that we are already tackling the causes and treating the symptoms of the climate crisis.”

Greenwashing is defined by ClientEarth as when a business uses advertising and public messaging to appear more climate-friendly and environmentally sustainable than it actually is.

In one of her last speeches before leaving the Environment Agency in September, Ms Howard Boyd is expected to commend these NGOs “for their tireless work in exposing this”.

She will also call for private investment in climate adaptation, saying that “only 5% of climate finance goes to resilience and virtually none of that comes from the private sector.”

In a plea for greater government involvement to help stimulate investment, she will ask that it “considers the costs and benefits of resilient investment both nationally and by economic sectors; what trajectory this investment should follow; and the right balance between public and private investment”.

She said such an approach “would help us understand how preparedness for climate shocks supports sustainable economic growth, establish an overall ambition for investment in adaptation and a plan to achieve it.”

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