Greenwashing claims and risks

  • Podcast

    21 February 2024

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In this episode, Partners Andrew Horne and Jane Standage, work through the complexities of greenwashing claims. They discuss the evolving landscape of greenwashing in the context of climate change litigation, drawing insights from a recent HSBC UK Advertising Standards Authority decision. They explore key learnings, challenges, and recommendations for businesses to reduce the risks associated with misleading environmental claims. As ESG claims continues to change, Andrew and Jane provide valuable insights to help businesses navigate this challenging terrain.

[00:00:33:09 - 00:00:59:23] Jane and Andrew summarise what greenwashing is and outline why it is a significant risk to private entities. 

[00:00:59:23 - 00:01:22:02] The pair discuss key learnings on greenwashing and emphasise the importance of context in presenting ESG credentials.

[00:01:22:04 - 00:02:33:07] Jane discusses the HSBC UK Advertising Standards Authority Decision. She references HSBC UK's billboard statements about climate change initiatives. Jane and Andrew discuss the challenge of balancing positive and negative aspects in advertisements.

[00:02:33:09 - 00:05:17:16] Jane and Andrew talk about companies can reduce their greenwashing risks. They highlight why businesses should be truthful, accurate, and specific in their claims. They urge caution against using vague language, especially in ESG communication. They discuss the importance of substantiating claims and having reasonable grounds.

[00:05:17:16 - 00:06:35:01] Jane and Andrew discuss the difficulty of achieving a balanced narrative, especially in ESG.  They explain the importance of understanding stakeholders' perspectives and expectations and anticipate potential legal challenges for companies not getting it right.

[00:06:35:04 - 00:07:43:19] Lastly, Jane and Andrew acknowledge the complexity of ESG and greenwashing in the legal context.

Information in this episode is accurate as at the date of recording, 09 February 2024.

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Please contact Jane Standage, Andrew Horne or our Litigation team if you need legal advice and guidance on any of the topics discussed in the episode.

You can read our full Litigation Forecast 2024 article on climate change litigation "Come hell or high water: A climate change litigation update" here.