Petition to end corporate greenwashing calls leaders to take action

Petition to end corporate greenwashing calls leaders to take action
April 2021
Business Collaboration Sustainability
The Europe-wide ‘Make 2021 Count’ campaign aims to end corporate greenwashing and boost carbon accountability.

As the world recalibrates towards sustainability after the setbacks of the pandemic, this year could well be our last chance to keep the 1.5℃ global warming limit within our future reach.

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, said earlier this year that „2021 is a make-or-break year to confront the global climate emergency”.

Despite a drop in emissions of around 5%, 2020 was not enough to reverse the trend in carbon emissions.

However, more and more companies pledge to reduce their carbon emission, the transparency on the actual measurement remains unregulated, leaving enough room for greenwashing and misleading.

‘Make 2021 Count’ campaign aims to end corporate greenwashing; Image: Plan A

The Europe-wide ‘Make 2021 Count’ campaign is launched by Berlin-based green tech startup, Plan A, aiming to start a movement to end corporate greenwashing.

Joined by industry partners, organisers of this activist campaign call on the EU to introduce universal binding transparency standards for corporate carbon emissions accounting in European companies.

That would basically mean that once a company claims to be "carbon neutral" should be legally required to disclose its carbon footprint to the public.

Beyond this specific action, the campaign's goal is to educate businesses and spark new conversations between professionals on what sustainability means in 2021.

The first step of the campaign is a petition launched on the website to collect as many signatures as possible, with an initial target of reaching 1000 signatures.

The petition will then be submitted to the European Commission with a call to action for policymakers and regulators to introduce legal measures in the fight against corporate greenwashing.

“For policymakers, we believe this petition can provide a catalyst for further regulations on transparency and definitions of true sustainable practices for corporate entities.

The drafting of European and national regulations on climate action offers the best possible opportunity to seize the moment,”

explains Lubomila Jordanova, CEO of Plan A, why they decided to start a petition as part of the ‘Make 2021 Count’ campaign.

Lubomila Jordanova, CEO of Plan A, lead organiser of the ‘Make 2021 Count’ campaign

It has become virtually impossible to distinguish between companies that take impactful steps to reduce and avoid CO2 and those that only claim to act sustainably without transparently reporting any actions and results.

Thus, greenwashing distorts the reality that the majority of EU businesses have not actually reported on their carbon reduction targets.

In parallel, there is a growing concern that greenwashing undermines the credibility of those companies that are driving actual change. 

"The longer there is space for sustainability claims to be overstated, the longer greenwashing can exist and hinder real change.

By reporting transparently, thoroughly and credibly to the public about their emissions, companies can learn about themselves and from each other.

They will also acknowledge that there is no quick fix for sustainable carbon reduction, but that it is a journey that requires commitment and a sense of responsibility”, says Jordanova.

The campaign is calling leaders to sign the petition to end greenwashing

Greenwashing runs deeper than statements about carbon neutrality and generates confusion in determining whether a company is taking tangible steps towards sustainability or not.

This results in hesitation and represents a significant obstacle for companies wishing to start their sustainability journey.

This moment is a chance to help businesses identify the different forms of greenwashing and find viable steps to combat them.

Since its launch in 2017, Plan A, the main organiser of this campaign, has helped businesses steer away from greenwashing with a software that follows a scientific approach to carbon reduction and creates transparency on corporate greenhouse gas emissions.

The campaign is supported by well-recognised companies such as ecolytiq, Green City Solutions, Onomotion, Joblift and Coya.