Don’t Let Greenwashing Threaten Your ESG Efforts

Ma-Keba Frye  |  November 18, 2021   |  Energy & Sustainability  


Over the years, companies have jumped on the sustainability bandwagon, relying on buzzwords like “eco-friendly,” “green,” and “all-natural” to appeal to consumers. Deceptive marketing tactics like greenwashing not only trick customers into believing that a company’s practices, products, and services are environmentally friendly; they also have 44 percent of investors concerned over whether companies are what they claim to be. As investors and the government urge organizations to ramp up their ESG efforts, they can’t just talk the talk; companies also have to walk the walk by establishing realistic green initiatives and goals and committing to transparency and accurate reporting. 

44% of investors are concerned over whether companies are what they claim to be when it comes to greenwashing.

Establish ESG goals and initiatives

To make progress with ESG objectives, it’s important to understand your company’s goals and how you plan to achieve them. It’s more than just appealing to investors and consumers – it’s an opportunity to articulate your company’s vision and strategy for implementing environmental, financial, and social change. Your company’s ESG efforts rely on establishing a baseline to ensure adequate management of resources and processes, reduce costs, enact social change, support diversity, and adapt to the changing environmental landscape.

To make progress with ESG objectives, companies have to rise to the challenge by understanding their goals and how they plan to achieve them.

When it comes to the “E” component of ESG, setting precise, achievable, impactful, and measurable sustainability goals related to your organization’s environmental footprint is critical. These direct impacts include greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, waste creation, pollution, and more. Based on the World Economic Forum’s ESG metrics, corporate reporting on environmental performance should align with the following six UN Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Climate action
  • Affordable and clean energy
  • Sustainable consumption and production
  • Clean water and sanitation
  • Life on land
  • Life below water

Ensure transparency and accurate reporting 

An ICEPN study found that as many as 40 percent of company sustainability claims were greenwashed, overstating their environmental impact. According to Jenna Johnson, Patagonia’s head of apparel, these false claims negatively impact consumers and companies like Patagonia that have robust sustainability programs in place and delay climate action progress. The Biden Administration has already made climate action a top priority, and regulated standards may soon be on the horizon. Still, environmental and leading investment groups like Greenpeace and BlackRock have voiced their concerns over greenwashing––calling for greater transparency and environmental regulations to reduce carbon emissions. 




To combat greenwashing and meet the demands of environmental activists, investors, and the government, companies must improve their sustainability reporting methods. Doing so helps support their initiatives, provides greater visibility into the validity of their environmental efforts, and creates a comprehensive view of their progress. 

A critical step towards ensuring that organizations are working to reduce their environmental impact is establishing a process to aggregate utility data that demonstrates their efforts. Companies can more efficiently track and measure their energy and sustainability performance with automated access to reliable and accurate data from multiple utility providers.

Let the data do the talking –– effectively track and measure your ESG efforts

For many commercial enterprises with offices worldwide, access to utility provider data across the globe is needed. More than that, the right data points for advanced analysis are necessary to support sustainability and ESG progress. Urjanet seamlessly delivers everything you need to accurately report on your ESG efforts and measure your sustainability goals. Urjanet’s Utility Data Platform automatically retrieves, standardizes, and delivers businesses’ energy consumption data, enabling accurate measurement of their carbon footprint and KPIs towards sustainability goals. 

Having the correct data at your fingertips can satisfy the data needs for a wide range of ESG frameworks and help to reassure investors and consumers that you’re not greenwashing your efforts. To learn more about how you can ensure data quality for ESG reporting, contact us today.


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About Ma-Keba Frye

Ma-Keba Frye is a Content Marketing Associate at Urjanet, assisting with content development and execution. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, listening to music, and volunteering.

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