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Keeping you in-the-know on environmental, social and governance developments

Whether due to anti-ESG pressures or because of how much fraud and uncertainty has recently been discovered in carbon offsets – we are starting to see some surprising changes in how companies word what they are doing on climate mitigation. First, there is this from Ragan PRDaily:

“P&G, the parent company of major paper product producers like Charmin and Bounty, made a small change to its anti-forestation policy in May, Adweek reported. The company deleted a pledge to avoid ‘forest degradation,’ which is when trees are clear cut but then allowed the regrow. While not as drastic as deforestation, when trees are cut and then the land repurposed for something else, it still disrupts delicate ecosystems. P&G says the change is due to a move to streamline its terminology, according to Adweek.”

Then The Grocer reports:

“The Carbon Trust is ditching its carbon neutral label and replacing it with four new consumer-facing ones that focus on emissions reductions and comparisons of products’ carbon footprints. The move comes against a backdrop of mounting pressure on the green claims made by food and drink brands, especially ‘carbon neutral’ claims achieved through the use of controversial offsets. In recent weeks, a number of food companies have begun phasing out their carbon neutral claims or dropping targets as the concept becomes increasingly synonymous with greenwashing.

Nestlé, Leon and contract caterer Sodexo are among those to have backed away from using offsets to claim carbon neutrality. Evian quietly dropped its carbon neutral label back in May. An update on its website noted it was ‘proud’ of its Carbon Trust certification but ‘will not seek global recertification’.”

Some may see this as a step backwards and maybe even greenwashing/greenhushing. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing – it reflects new findings and realities of carbon management. I take it as increased maturity in how companies think about offsets. Frankly, it could be considered a risk for companies to ignore recent developments and controversies in offset markets.

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile