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One in five businesses admit to greenwashing

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New research has suggested one in five businesses admit to greenwashing, with half saying their sustainability efforts are failing.

Some 44 per cent of UK businesses say they are failing to deliver on their sustainable commitments, with 18 per cent admitting to publicly exaggerating their green credentials, according to the poll of more than 1,500 senior executives by corporate and environmental, social and governance (ESG) communications agency, Clearly PR.

A further one in four (24 per cent) of executives admit they do not know if their sustainability efforts are making any positive difference at all, and 20 per cent say they are unaware if their business has any metrics in place to measure the effectiveness of their environmental initiatives in the first place. Only 19 per cent believe that their business is making genuine progress on its sustainability initiatives.

Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, Managing Director at Clearly PR, commented: “We need acts, not ads. These findings are extremely disappointing and equally revealing. ESG has been catapulted to the top of the business agenda in recent years. Yet despite the rhetoric and their public commitment to sustainability, a considerable number of businesses are simply not making good on their promises.

“More worrying is the unacceptably high number of businesses admitting they have resorted to use greenwashing in their ESG communications in a deliberate attempt to mislead consumers, investors, and other stakeholders. To make themselves look good. Once exposed, however, such false claims are not only damaging to the brand and reputation of these businesses, but their stock value will also depreciate, and bottom-line sales are likely to be negatively impacted too.”

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