If you’re curious as to how many company directors and senior executives might be sleepwalking off a greenwashing cliff, then the ACCC provides a clue.
Our consumer watchdog scanned almost 250 company websites late last year and reckon more than half of them had made questionable claims about their environmental credentials.
This scrutiny is being accompanied by action from ASIC, which is pinging ASX-listed companies it believes are having us on in relation to carbon neutral and net zero.
The generational shift towards higher ESG and sustainability standards is not a fad. Despite challenging economic times, expectations on climate, nature, diversity and many other sustainability topics are growing.
The laws under which both the ACCC and ASIC are looking at greenwashing are not new. Misleading consumers over the qualities of products and investors through the information disclosed to the market have been frowned on for a long time.
The key to avoiding greenwashing is for companies to eliminate the gap between what they say and what they do, accepting that the requirement for sustainability disclosure and the scrutiny of the information disclosed will only grow.
If companies get this right, they will build trust with investors, consumers and employees. If not, then it may only be a matter of time before regulatory scrutiny catches up with them.
It’s time for our boardrooms and c-suites to wake up.
This article also appeared in The West Australian newspaper.