What is greenwashing and how to avoid it?

4 min read
August 25, 2022 at 4:59 PM
What is greenwashing and how to avoid it?

Various topics and keywords used within the environmental sector can be controversial. It is important to stay educated, and up-to-date on news in the industry as you want to avoid misleading the public or creating false claims.

Although some consider this as another entry door to greenwashing and false advertisement, climate contribution can be positive, and transparent when paired with the right reduction strategy.  

1. What is greenwashing?

Greenwashing is a communication method that shares an image of an ecological and responsible organization proven by false or arranged arguments. An example of greenwashing would be a firm that revendicates an environmentally-conscious image when only having invested in carbon credits and not having measured nor reduced its carbon footprint. 

2. What is climate contribution?

The Net Zero Initiative defines climate contribution as support for emission reduction projects aimed at achieving a net zero future by mid-century. More and more companies are adopting this perspective and setting targets to achieve carbon neutrality.

There are two main types of climate contribution projects: carbon avoidance projects and carbon removal projects. These projects can be classified into eight distinct categories, which either focus on removing existing carbon already present in the atmosphere (carbon removal projects) or prevent their release into the atmosphere (carbon avoidance projects).

Find out more about the different types of project in this article

3. How can climate contribution be an efficient environmental strategy? 

Climate contribution must not be a goal, but a means to an end. It must be an additional measure to reach net-zero at the global level. Building an efficient environmental strategy starts with measuring and then reducing its emissions. Carbon offsetting has to address the residual emissions after this whole process. Transparency is key to avoiding greenwashing.

There are three important phases to avoid greenwashing and wrong climate action:

a. Conduct a GHG assessment

The carbon footprint or GHG assessment allows you to map the sources of your emissions. It is the basis for piloting a reduction strategy on direct and indirect emissions with a detailed timeline. CO2 offsetting supports your reduction strategy to maximize its effectiveness against climate change.

b. Climate contribution selection

An organization must choose its climate contribution projects wisely. In order to do so, it can contact trustful and rigorous intermediaries such as ClimateSeed. We ensure project quality and that companies’ contribution helps maximize positive social and environmental impacts. Carbon credits are the gateway to environmental and social impacts.

When a company contributes to a project, it is important to select projects that have an impact on the local community and verify the project developer's claims.


Climate contribution projects ClimateSeed


4. Clear communication strategy without greenwashing

During and after this high-quality climate contribution process, organizations must have clear communications guidelines. After realizing robust climate action, a company must pay close attention to how it communicates while maximizing transparency. This is why an effective environmental strategy starts with goal setting and ends with efficient and transparent communication. Transparent communication makes it possible to valorize your climate actions in front of customers and investors and inspire other companies to take positive environmental and social measures.

For example, it is preferable to use the term ‘global net-zero’ and ‘global carbon neutrality’ as there is a need for a global effort to tackle climate change. There is also a need for verification of no double-counting credits (retire them from the market as soon as they are used), recognized duration and permanence of the project (its effect are continuous and durable) and additionality of the project (the project is proven to be useful). 

The voluntary carbon market is, in the majority, a pool of invested actors sharing the same final goal: tackling climate change. A due diligence on the organizations has to be done to make sure that reduction efforts have been made before contributing to a project.

Such support throughout the whole process, from selecting to communicating, is assured by ClimateSeed. Joining us to measure your carbon footprint, reduce it, offset the residual emissions, and communicate your climate action is one of the right and conscious ways to act.

Let us show and inspire transparency together to leave a healthier world for the next generations.


Why is greenwashing problematic?

In the context of carbon credits, greenwashing is especially problematic because it allows companies to appear environmentally responsible without actually reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. By purchasing carbon credits without committing to concrete actions to lower emissions, these companies create an illusion of sustainability. This practice not only misleads consumers and investors but also hinders global efforts to combat climate change. Additionally, it can erode confidence in climate contribution mechanisms, making it harder for genuinely effective projects to secure adequate funding and support. ClimateSeed addresses this issue by ensuring the quality and transparency of climate contribution projects, guaranteeing that they have a real positive impact on the environment and local communities. For more information, contact us.

How can ClimateSeed help you with your climate contribution strategy?

ClimateSeed offers high-quality carbon removal and avoidance projects that generate carbon credits. By providing solutions to support these projects, we maximise your positive impact on the environment and society. Every project is sourced and qualified by our team of carbon project specialists and goes through a rigorous process, based on their climate impact as well as potential social and environmental benefits. 

For more information, visit this page. 

Back to top
CTA EN Book a talk with expert