Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore warned about the looming threat greenwashing poses towards the drive away from fossil fuels, in a virtual talk held during the Bloomberg Green Summit.
"There remains a yawning gap between long-term climate goals and near-term action plans", said Gore, especially at corporate and government levels. He went on to state that large emitters and polluters must resolve their climate ambitions with much more credibility and urgency.
Meanwhile, greenwashing has become the new norm and sustainable investing has taken a turn towards the mainstream. Greenwashing, by definition is the process of conveying a false impression about how a company's products or services are environmentally-friendly and is often seen as a marketing gimic. As the current chairman of Generation Investment Management, Gore warned about how greenwashing can upend the progress made in the climate fight so far.
In its fifth annual assessment on the transition to a sustainable economy, Generation Investment Management cites data which indicates that 42% of environmental claims have been exaggerated or deceptive. The management also pointed out that 53% of the 159 companies it tracks don't have viable short-term targets for net-zero emissions. Other data suggested that more than half of the world's GDP is at risk due to nature loss and, consumers are often faced with ambiguous claims about the benefits of sustainability.
The assessment also had some positives. Since 2015, the market has seen a 10-fold gain in new investments in social, environmental and governance-related funds. There has also been an eight-fold increase in sustainable debt issuance. In addition, governments that represent three quearters of the global GDP have made national level commitments to a targeted net-zero emissions.
The past year has presented huge opportunities for sustainable investing but the imminent threat of greenwashing still plagues the future of a low-carbon economy. "The time for celebrating vague, distant goals on net zero has long passed" said Gore. "Investors now need clarity over how companies will turn goals into actions".
Published 20th July 2021 | 9:54 pm