Elena Durante on Greewashing [Podcast]

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By Adam Turteltaub

As environmental expectations keeps rising and Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) metrics gain more importance to investors, some organizations will be tempted to greenwash, which is best described as making an environmental footprint look far better than it actually is.

That’s a serious risk and one that will be addressed by Elena Durante, ESG Risk Audit Manager, ING Corporate Audit Services, Risk & Finance, at the SCCE European Compliance & Ethics Institute, which takes place in Amsterdam March 20-22.

As she explains in this podcast, at its roots greenwashing is about misleading information supplied to investors and customers, taking advantage of the fact that these outsiders cannot fully tell if what the organization is saying is true.

While greenwashing is still relatively unregulated, she tells us, that has started to change.  In the EU there have been an increasing number of efforts to combat it. Plus, there is severe reputational damage to companies caught greenwashing.

Compliance teams need to be on the lookout at their organizations to ensure the integrity of their organizations’ environmental statements. That starts with ensuring that what regulations that currently exist are followed. It also means keeping an eye out for new regulations.

Compliance should also be working to develop and implement ESG protocols within the organization. These should identify clear rules and policies to ensure sufficient checks and balances are in place.

A training element will also be needed to help the business people understand that environmental statements need to accurately reflect the  organization’s actual activities, not just its aspirations.

Listen in and then keep an eye out for greenwashing in your organization.