The Truth about Greenwashing

The Truth about Greenwashing

DCAN Webinar 5 June: The Truth about Greenwashing

This in depth event on the 5th June 2024 examined the truth of the greenwashing accusation made against private and public sector initiatives and what can be done about it, covering the following areas:

  • - An overview of the greenwashing issue and its dangers
  • - How the next generation (Gen Z) is dealing with it
  • - How the BCorp system works and is it a way forward
  • - Greenwashing in local government and could BCorp help

Attendees of the event benefitted from some significant and occasionally revealing facts and figures.

The calculated and deliberate deceit of a plethora of big name global corporations, particularly in the fossil fuel industry, were expected. But there were some unexpected revelations too.

An expert panel of speakers unfamiliar with many, including Martin Brown of Fairsnape, Joanna Watchman of Content Coms and Amber Harrison of Folde, between them not only only managed to outline the salient facts about the pernicious and widespread practice of ‘green lying’ - aka greenwashing - but also how dangerous it is and how hard to counteract.

Dorset author and journalist Richard Thomas, who chaired the event, quoted a recent commentator as describing greenwashing as ’the lie that will doom the world’ - and while the event did not do too much actual naming and shaming it was made very obvious who the main culprits are and the greed motivation that drove the worst of them (although it was questioned if even the ‘innocent’ perpetrators are really that innocent in the final analysis).

Regeneration - not sustainability

Renowned climate consultant and activist Martin Brown questioned the authenticity of the word ‘sustainability’ commonly found in greenwashing and said he preferred the terms ‘regenerative’ and ‘regeneration’. This made it clear that the task in front of humanity is not so much to preserve the human status quo - that might be inferred from the word ‘sustainable’ - as, and more crucially and accurately, to restore what has been lost from the natural world on which we depend.

‘It is about remembering we are a part of nature and not apart from it,’ he reminded participants.

Two recent recipients of the acclaimed B-Corp certification process, Jo and Amber, both explained how it was a convincing and effective antidote to green lying. But it was conceded that its focus on for-profit business organisations made it an inappropriate mechanism for preventing greenwashing in local government and other so-called ‘public service’ bodies.

Standing in for Dorset Council’s Carl Warom, who had had to withdraw from the event because of pre-election rules that prevented his participation, Giles Watts succinctly outlined the disconnect between central and local government that made it hard to evaluate local authorities’ record on meeting climate targets and assessing greenwashing failings.

In the subsequent Q&A session Jo Watchman challenged DCAN on why there were no young ‘Gen Z’ people taking part and asked whether the network was doing enough to attract young people. Giles countered that this was one of the main reasons why the next Dorset COP in November was being held at Bournemouth University.

You can view a recording of the event here on YouTube

And also all of the speakers presentations can be viewed here:

Martin Brown - Greenwashing: What it is and how to deal with it

Joanna Watchman - The Gen Z response

Amber Harrison - The B-Corp solution

Giles Watts - The Government and local government response


The Truth about Greenwashing


This in depth event on the 5th June 2024 examined the truth of the greenwashing accusation made against private and public sector initiatives and what can be done about it.



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