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Global Warming Is Real And Greenwashing Is Not A Solution

Accounts Payable AutomationTrendsThought Leadership
Mekenna Mroz

The planet, as we know it, is slowly suffocating. Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels "have risen more than 20% within less than 40 years,” which causes the heat emitted from the sun to become trapped within our atmosphere - resulting in increased temperatures around the globe.

So, what? The rise in temperatures can result in traumatic events that directly affect the human population, including devastating weather events, food supply disruptions, and species extinction - only to name a few. These devastating climate disasters and more consequences are accelerating rapidly and will, eventually, become more painfully obvious and drastically affect the lives of future generations.

We, humans, should care. If we continue to turn a blind eye, we will become forced to pay attention, and the youth today and future grandchildren will live in a world ravaged by climate change.

We need to start reducing greenhouse emissions as soon as possible. People and businesses are all responsible for taking action in order to protect our home, Planet Earth. Why? If we continue to delay initiative, we better buckle up for a tumultuous journey ahead.

Let us look at what actions businesses have previously taken to become more environmentally friendly, an interview with Anders Lier, founder of Energi.AI, and what steps your company can take to actually become more environmentally friendly.

Further, we will discuss a disturbing trend where some companies are claiming to be more environmentally friendly and sustainable so they can advertise their "eco-friendly" initiatives to boost their brand awareness and reputation. However, are these companies being truthful when it comes down to their environmental efforts?

Enter greenwashing.

Greenwashing: a company uses environmental efforts as a marketing tactic and has not made any notable sustainability efforts. In other words, they are using sustainability as a PR stunt.

If a company says that its products are eco-friendly, do consumers go and fact-check the claim? Most likely not. According to a global survey sponsored by Google Cloud, “over half (58%) of executives say their organization is guilty of greenwashing” and have conveyed a false image of their sustainability initiative. Greenwashing has many short-term benefits. A brand can temporarily boost its reputation and charge customers more money for an eco-friendly product. However, once the eco-friendly positioning is busted, the company will have to start executing damage control. A decline in brand trustworthiness, a slowdown/stop in sales, and litigations are some of the considerable efforts that will take place once the public and government become aware of these false claims. In the long run, the cons of greenwashing outweigh the pros. In fact, at the end of it all, it would have been more affordable for the company to truly implement the environmentally friendly strategies that they were falsely promoting.

Going green does not have to require a massive change right away. Nowadays, there are simple ways for a company to start being more environmentally friendly and tools available to track their carbon emission, which can help direct them to what initiatives they need to take to begin their decarbonization efforts. We interviewed Mr. Anders Lier, Founder & President of Energi.ai, to get insight into decarbonization.

1. What is decarbonization? Why is it important?
Decarbonization is important because we need to get to a net-zero world. We need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions because the carbon dioxide levels are increasing the temperature on the planet, and we need to keep temperature rates low. We need to control it. If we do not start controlling it, we will begin to see an increase in extreme weather events in the global weather system; ultimately, becoming a major disaster for the world.

2. Why is it critical for companies to stop “greenwashing” and genuinely apply environmentally friendly practices within their organization and products?
Now, a big trend is that everyone wants to invest in sustainability. However, if we do not do it thoroughly and in a responsible way, it will not make an impact, which will cause consumers to start believing that these solutions are not making the right impact. It does not really help us. Companies participating in greenwashing convey the message that these sustainability solutions do not benefit us. If we want a future, net-zero is important because we need to behave as responsible parties to the environment. Many people do not know their CO2 addition to the planet. Many regulations are being established that companies must comply with, creating an excellent reason for companies to start taking responsibility for their actions.

3. How can companies hold themselves more accountable when it comes to reducing their carbon footprint?
The net-zero coalition is a climate action to reduce carbon emissions to as close to 0% as possible by 2030. How can you be held more accountable if you do not have an efficient tool to measure where you are? By knowing your exact footprint by measuring your CO2, you can take the necessary measures to start reducing your emissions.

4. How can organizations get started on reducing their carbon footprint? Is going paperless an effective first step and, ultimately, a concrete action for businesses?
The best way to start taking action is by making people aware of where they stand and what their emissions are. Of course, there are many ways to reduce carbon: traveling less, purchasing green products, setting requirements for vendors to digital invoices, electric vehicles, changing energy mix (using coal to renewable energy), etc.

As Mr. Lier mentioned, one of the ways to start is by adopting digital invoices. Digital invoicing is gaining momentum as more governmental efforts increase and businesses become increasingly aware of the benefits. There are many benefits and advantages to adopting an e-invoicing strategy, such as reducing paper waste.

The key to making progress is for companies to track their environmental impact and make beneficial changes based on analytics. One way to start is by switching to e-invoicing. By implementing e-invoicing, a large company can save “6 million sheets of paper, […] the equivalent of 700 trees, 85 barrels of oil, 173,000 kilowatts of energy and more than 2,500 pounds of air pollution.” These statistics reflect the tip of the iceberg regarding the impact that transitioning from paper invoices to electronic invoices can have on the environment.

Want to learn more about the benefits and the future of e-invoicing? Check out our previous blog posts on e-invoicing:

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