“CO2 offsetting is greenwashing” is a common reproach. Critics complain that companies hold on to their environmentally harmful business – and offset CO2 to give themselves the green image of “climate neutrality”. What does “greenwashing” mean? Is the criticism justified? And how does the DFGE clearly distance itself from greenwashing?
Greenwashing: the creation of a “green” image through the targeted spreading of disinformation
Companies, governments, parties or organizations are confronted with an increasingly space-consuming discourse about environmental protection and sustainability in business and society. Climate change is changing the world. Consumers and investors become more aware of sustainable products. To respond to these demands, companies make use of various practices that allow their actions to be presented to the public in a more ecological and sustainable manner than they actually are. This strategic behavior, which is criticized as greenwashing, tries to create an image of ecological responsibility through the targeted spreading of disinformation.
Offsetting greenhouse gas emissions and the limits to greenwashing
In the context of greenwashing, offsetting greenhouse gas emissions by funding climate protection projects, renewable energies and development aid is discussed.
Every company causes unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions. By purchasing certificates that verifiably ensure additional GHG emission reductions in a climate protection project, unavoidable emissions are offset. Critics see the risk of calculated greenwashing in the offsetting business.
Companies that set themselves apart from greenwashing follow a holistic approach. Here, a clearly defined, ambitious reduction path is set in which the corporate climate targets are in line with the Paris Agreement. By participating in the Science Based Targets Initiative large companies in particular are committed to this approach. With a holistic approach, a company’s greenhouse gas balance conforms to the international Greenhouse Gas Protocol and / or ISO standard 14064-1. In principle, companies should strive for climate neutrality through their own efforts, i.e. without compensation payments. It is also crucial how climate protection is anchored and practiced in corporate management.
With its scientific approach, the DFGE clearly positions itself against greenwashing
As a full-service provider and a certified partner of e.g. UNGC, CDP, GRI and EcoVadis, the DFGE deals in a holistic way with the calculation of the carbon footprint up to certification and possible compensation through climate protection projects. The DFGE always uses a science-based calculation of the carbon footprint as a basis for the CO2 compensation for unavoidable emissions through certificate purchases. To avoid greenwashing, the projects promoted with the DFGE can be transparently tracked on the Climate Neutrality Platform using the certificate number. At DFGE climate protection projects have a high standard. Based on the strategic partnership with e.g. South Pole, one of the world’s leading developers of international climate protection projects and holistic climate protection solutions, DFGE receives CO2 certificates from South Pole’s global portfolio of climate protection projects. The DFGE is characterized by a reliable scientific process methodology, rejecting general calculations, and thus working against green washing.
Alles klimaneutral, oder was? Über CO2-Kompensation und die Grenzen zum Greenwashing | BNW Bundesverband Nachhaltige Wirtschaft (bnw-bundesverband.de)
Greenwashing oder Idealismus? Auch Werbung will klimaneutraler werden – Wirtschaft – SZ.de (sueddeutsche.de)
Greenwashing. Die negativen Aspekte der Nachhaltigkeitskommunikation, Schöps 2009
Greenwashing – Die dunkle Seite der CSR | Verantwortung | RESET.org
Sustainability Intelligence DFGE: EcoVadis, CDP, Carbon Footprint