Greenwashing is a marketing technique, of making a product appear more eco-friendly than it really is.
Tips on how to spot greenwashing:
Look for vague words, pretty pictures but no hard facts or concrete examples.
Look for impressive numbers but without context. This is important. A big bank might have lent £100million to renewable energy and brag about this, but if that’s £100million of a total loan portfolio of £390billion and the rest of their energy loans are to fossil fuels, that’s not really a high enough percentage to claim credit.
Always look under the bonnet. If you can’t even get under the bonnet, that’s your first warning sign that there is something to hide.
If you manage to access the holdings of the fund, or the bank’s lending portfolio, and you don’t know what any of the companies do, you’ll still be none the wiser. Use a sustainability checker like CSR Hub to work out how sustainable these companies really are.
At a European level, we will see guidelines which all companies will have to adhere to in order to continue be recognised as ‘Green’. This is a good start and over time, the standards will be raised.
We, at Prudent Environmental Investments, are well placed to guide you along this road.