17 - 2010

Leveraging Technology to End Greenwashing and Restore Eco-Transparency

The following is a guest post from Hunter Richards – check out his website for more tech news. This is a shortened version for the Cheap Like Me blog; you can read the original article at Software to Hold “Greenwashers” Accountable.

Greenwash (verb, \ˈgrēn-wȯsh\) – to market a product or service by promoting a deceptive or misleading perception of environmental responsibility.


Companies have increasingly been launching major ad campaigns to tout their green credentials. But many of these claims are misleading or downright false. The ads can be successful, but fraudulent “greenwashing” is eroding the credibility of environmental marketing and turning would-be green consumers into skeptics.


We need reliable infrastructure for environmental accounting to prevent further greenwashing and restore the credibility of green marketing campaigns. Enterprise Carbon Accounting (ECA) software is becoming the foundation of this infrastructure. ECA software enables companies to consistently track their carbon emissions while identifying the opportunities to save money and reduce waste.


But for environmental accounting adoption to expand enough to drive truly green business practices, we really need five key areas to develop:


  1. Clear government action on regulations – like increased coverage of the EPA’s Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule, which requires companies that emit 25,000 metric tons or more of greenhouse gases annually to disclose emissions information to the EPA;
  2. Adoption of carbon accounting principles – stricter requirements for disclosure of corporate emissions information with the use of ECA software would provide methods to closely examine a company’s environmental record, making it easier to identify the phonies and applaud the real eco-friendly businesses;
  3. Expansion of Scope 3 emissions accounting – mandatory inclusion of suppliers’ emissions in environmental reports (Scope 3) would prevent under-reporting of emissions and more quickly spread adoption of carbon accounting throughout the supply chain;
  4. Better green business incentives  – using ECA software to identify eco-friendly savings opportunities can reveal cost-cutting strategies to truly go green, making greenwashing pointless;
  5. Demanding, informed consumers – demanding the numbers from standardized carbon accounting reports, while boycotting the liars, forces businesses with green marketing campaigns to prove their sincerity and restore the legitimacy of green marketing over the long term.

Want more detail? Check out the full post: Software to Hold “Greenwashers” Accountable.

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