Saturday, October 30, 2010

The New Weapon Against "Greenwashers" and Their Carbon Footprints

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

“Going green” has become the next craze of the corporate world. Capitalizing on growing consumer interest in environmentalism and sustainability, companies are launching major ad campaigns to tout their green credentials. But many of these claims are misleading or downright false. How can we know who’s telling the truth? “Greenwashing” is eroding the credibility of environmental marketing and turning would-be green consumers into skeptics.

The U.S. is a leader in financial accounting (thanks in part to accounting software systems), but we need the similar strength in environmental accounting to prevent deceptive green marketing campaigns. The recent development of Enterprise Carbon Accounting (ECA) software enables companies to track their carbon emissions and identify opportunities for waste reduction. The full development and requirement of ECA software will make it much more difficult for businesses to cover up their environmental records. They’ll have to live up to their claims if they want to pursue green marketing strategies. But for ECA software and environmental accounting adoption to drive truly green business practices, we need action in five main categories:

Clear government action on regulations - like increased coverage of the EPA’s Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule;

Adoption of carbon accounting principles - stricter requirements for disclosure of standardized corporate emissions information;

Expansion of “scope 3” emissions accounting - mandatory inclusion of suppliers’ emissions in environmental reports would prevent under-reporting of emissions;

Better green business incentives - using ECA software to identify eco-friendly savings opportunities can make it cheaper to go green;

Demanding, informed consumers - demanding the numbers, while boycotting the liars, forces businesses with green marketing campaigns to prove their sincerity.

To read more about ECA software and greenwashing prevention, check out Software to Hold "Greenwashers" Accountable.

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