The efforts by banks and other financial providers to make a positive climate impact need to be applauded. Unfortunately, it has also given rise to copious amounts of greenwashing, at least in the UK. Sustainability is an ambitious and essential goal, but not everyone will go the extra mile.
Greenwashing Issues In The UK
A new report by Censuswide paints a bleak picture regarding climate efforts among UK financial institutions. Executives of 150 banking outfits took part in a research survey regarding sustainability efforts. While everyone claims to be committed to the cause, there is a growing amount of greenwashing. That is primarily due to 40% of institutions not measuring their environmental impact [correctly].
Moreover, the majority of banks rely on carbon credits to offset their environmental impact. That has long been lauded as a smart approach, yet carbon credits are not necessarily a sustainable approach. Roughly 1 in every 2 UK banks invests in carbon credit solutions as a priority, rather than changing their environmental impact at a fundamental level. Offloading the problem to another “vehicle” is not the right approach.
Such problematic amounts of greenwashing confirm the UK banking industry has much work to do. Achieving sustainability in this industry is not easy, as several hurdles exist. Some argue there is a need for regulation and enforcement, whereas others admit to lacking the necessary market knowledge. Budget concerns are also to consider, as overhauling legacy systems will not be cheap.
Despite the greenwashing issue, most UK banks remain committed to exploring climate efforts. That is a healthy sign, but the progress to date remains questionable. Saying one will do something and executing those actions are two very different concepts. Unfortunately, that may prove a lot trickier to solve than any of the other hurdles.