It all started with one big question: What would it take to make 2021 the sustainability year? 2021 is the year we end corporate greenwashing and ask for stronger emissions transparency regulations.

To do so, Plan A launches a unique movement, “Make 2021 count“, with at its heart a petition calling on the European Union to introduce a uniform and binding transparency standards, for the corporate carbon emissions accounting in European companies. Companies claiming carbon neutrality should be legally required to disclose their carbon footprint to the public.

Why is Greenwashing a problem?

According to the Cambridge dictionary, “greenwashing attempts to make people believe that your company is doing more to protect the environment than it is.” Indeed, greenwashing is a barrier to concrete climate action and sustainable development, making it difficult to assess which corporate’s effort is genuinely sustainable.

2021 is a crucial year in the fight against climate change.

Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General.

For example, during the first Earth Day in 1970, corporations spent eight times more on establishing a green image through advertising than the amount they spent on environmental research initiatives. Further, energy companies like Exxon, Shell or BP advertise their brands as “climate positive” but do not spend a dime on climate action. In 2018, companies spent $400 M in climate branding/lobbying compared to $960 M in non-climate lobbying. In 2019, energy companies were expected to spend $3,6 B for low carbon technologies, whereas $110.4 B for oil and gas. Make the math, and you will understand the issue.

Why is greenwashing a problem? End Greenwashing
The real price of greenwashing
Source: Bloomberg Green

But in 2021, greenwashing is not always so obvious. Many companies taking well-intentioned steps towards sustainability can still unknowingly greenwash. Claiming carbon neutrality without transparency and solely offsetting companies’ carbon footprint gives the impression that reduction is being worked on – and accountability is lost. In 2021, more than ever, transparency is the natural cure to greenwashing.

89% of professionals surveyed by Plan A feel there is not enough regulation against greenwashing.

In that regard, Lubomila Jordanova, CEO and Co-Founder at Plan A, states: “The longer there is space for sustainability claims to be overstated, the longer greenwashing can exist and hinder real change. By reporting transparently to the public about their emissions, companies can learn from themselves and each other.”

How can you #endgreenwashing?

It is time for corporate greenwashing to bite the dust and call for genuine climate action. Together, we can ask for more powerful regulations and held companies accountable for their claims. So, here is what you can do to support the Make 2021 count movement and #endgreenwashing:

  1. Sign the petition.
  2. Show your support on social media by tagging #endgreenwashing and #make2021count.
  3. Please share it with your network and friends. Ask for their participation!
  4. Tell the world how are you planning en ending greenwashing.
  5. For businesses: Reach out to us if you’d like to become a campaign partner at [email protected], subject: Make 2021 count.
Sign the petition to end greenwashing
Be one of the good gals and guys: sign the petition to end greenwashing.

Together, we can end greenwashing. Visit Make 2021 Count website to find exclusive resources, inform yourself and sign the petition.