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As consumers become more concerned about the environmental impact of what they eat, wear, drive, and buy, smart corporations are increasingly attempting to appeal with messages about how sustainable their products and services may be. But, according to a just-released study of senior executives at corporations around the world, it seems many business leaders acknowledge what many of us in the general public have long believed – that not all claims of sustainability are equally legitimate and many merely engage in the practice known as greenwashing, advertising an option as “greener” without making any significant change.
The survey, conducted by The Harris Poll for Google Cloud and reported on by Axios, spoke to 1,491 “C-suite or VP-level executives” at global corporations about how their employers and competitors are addressing environmental issues. Of the respondents, 58 percent admitted their own company has engaged in some form of greenwashing – a number that jumps to 72 percent among companies based in North America.
Even efforts towards environmental sustainability made, ostensibly, in good faith may run into problems with implementation. While many of the execs said they prioritize sustainability, and fully 80 percent claimed their company is “above average” in this regard, only 36 percent of them told researchers that their company has “measurement tools in place that allow them to track their progress in detail.”
“I think the problem is, as expectations have increased, that hasn’t necessarily been commensurate with the tools that companies need to be able to measure and disclose performance,” Justin Keeble, managing director of Global Sustainability at Google Cloud, told Axios.