Greenwash Webinar Feedback in Line With Research Findings.

Date: Oct 2023
Read time: 2 mins
Author: Charlotte Waters

In our recent webinar with Futurebuild, we took the temperature of the audience on a number of topics to see how their experiences were reflected in the survey findings.

Investing in verified claims

The data says specifiers would pay more for a product with verifiable claims – how does that play out in reality?

  • 28% No, that’s not been the case in my experience
  • 59.5% On occasion, I’ve seen that to be the case
  • 12.5% Yes, I’ve often seen that to be the case

In this response, we can see that the data is backed up by people’s experiences. Specifiers are looking to include products that have verifiable claims. Whether those products stay on specification to the end is a question for a future poll!

Leaving greenwashing unchallenged

In the research, three-quarters said that there would be a loss of reputation ….. so we wanted to know, why aren’t we seeing more organisations doing more to stamp it out?

  • 8% Customers want products at whatever cost
  • 8% No commercial impact to being accused
  • 22% No legislative teeth
  • 62% No-one holding them to account

The majority believe that organisations will continue to greenwash until there is a robust method of holding them to account for the claims they are making. At The Anti-Greenwash Charter, we believe that a first step is in people creating a Green Claims Policy which shares how they make claims, and then being held to account for those by us as an independent body.

We aren’t looking to catch people out, but instead to encourage clarity around claims and then accountability in the face of a challenge. With too many conversations happening behind closed doors, it is hard to see how anything can improve.

Without universally accepted definitions of terms like ‘eco-friendly’ or ‘sustainable’, a Green Claims Policy is where you set out how you as an organisation define them. This offers clarity for customers and protection in the event of a challenge.

Getting clarity on definitions

Terminology is obviously an issue …. how could we reach universal definitions?

  • 11% Don’t know – it’s difficult to get universally agreed terminology
  • 19% Government-led definitions
  • 2% Not possible, we have to define it ourselves
  • 68% Sector-specific organisations to define for that industry

It’s clear that the audience felt that definitions have to be agreed within the sector rather than at a broader level. Which organisation would take responsibility for that is another follow-up question for future – would it be best from member organisations like RIBA or the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products, certification bodies like BRE or those focused on specific areas like The Sustainable Concrete Forum?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on these polls!?