Offsetting carbon emissions: why it is misleading
The carbon neutral definition may induce people to think that a brand that claims this practice is sustainable. But, planting trees isn’t enough to solve the climate change issue.
Indeed, it’s always interesting to read how the fashion industry is involved in sustainable practices. Which, now, we can place under the umbrella of corporate change. We get itchy just thinking about it! There is no company that doesn’t talk about its eco-friendly policies. The bigger they are, the more they blurt out promises they cannot keep.
According to the Circular Fashion Index 2023, Gucci is the most sustainable among luxury brands. Kearny, a strategic consultancy company that analyses the impact of the circularity of brands, operates this ranking. They rank fast fashion brands, too! So, fast fashion has sustainable practices – really?
We feel a little disappointed when agencies release these rankings because of the misleading impact. In fact, we think industries use the word sustainable too much. After checking out those rankings, our question is: how can brands structured on an overproduction model be sustainable?
Carbon neutral or greenwashing?
But, while some magazines posted the list of the most sustainable brands or sustainable mega entities, The Guardian released an article that dampens enthusiasm.
“Adverts that claim products are carbon neutral using offsets are to be banned by the UK’s advertising watchdog unless companies can prove they really work, the Guardian can reveal, as Gucci becomes the latest company to struggle with a high-profile environmental commitment based on offsetting.The Guardian
Amid growing concern that firms are misleading consumers about the environmental impact of their products, the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) is to begin stricter enforcement around the use of terms such as “carbon neutral”, “net zero” and “nature positive” as part of a greenwashing crackdown later this year after a six-month review.”
Offset CO2 emissions: what does it mean?
Offsetting CO2 emissions means balancing the amount of CO generated by any activity through reforestation, parks and natural reserves protection. These projects generate carbon credits.
“In January, a joint Guardian investigation found that many rainforest offsets certified by Verra, which operates the world’s leading carbon standard, had little impact despite being widely used by major companies for environmental claims, also finding evidence of forced evictions at a flagship project in Peru used by Disney and Apple.”The Guardian
Specifically, The Guardian revealed that more than 90% of rainforest carbon offsets by the biggest certifier are worthless!
Therefore, planting trees isn’t helping with climate change.
When big brands, corporations and millionaires talk about sustainability and carbon emissions, always be careful. They are the problem. And if they want to be part of the solution, they must change their overproduction model and lifestyle first.
Changing marketing isn’t enough. Carbon-neutral and sustainable claims are just smoke and mirrors.