UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned companies and other non-state entities pursuing net-zero goals to not indulge in greenwashing.

 

What is ‘greenwashing’?

  • It refers to a range of activities that companies or even countries indulge in to present misleading or dubious claims about their climate action.
  • There is a growing tendency among firms & governments to mark all kinds of activities as climate-friendly. Many of these claims are unverifiable, misleading, or dubious.
  • While they help in boosting the image of the entity, sometimes even helping them garner benefits, they do nothing in the fight against climate change.
  • It presents a false picture of the progress being made on the climate change front, thereby pushing the world towards disaster, while at the same time rewarding entities for irresponsible behaviour.

 

Examples of greenwashing

  • Developed countries are often accused of greenwashing their normal business investments in developing countries, or their bilateral aid.
    • They often highlight climate co-benefits of these financial flows, sometimes with very little justification.
  • The Volkswagen scandal was a case of greenwashing.
    • In this scandal, the German car company was found to have been cheating in emissions testing of its supposedly green diesel vehicles.
  • Several other multinational corporations, including oil giants like Shell, BP, and Coca Cola have faced accusations of greenwashing.