According to research released today by the government-funded Carbon Trust, almost two-thirds of consumers demand third party evidence of action from a respected climate change body before trusting any green claims.
Furthermore, 53 per cent believe companies make one-off improvements to win publicity before returning to old habits.
Harry Morrison, general manager of the Carbon Trust Standard, said: “It’s clear that ‘green washing’; over claiming; and excessive jargon has created mistrust of brands. The good news is that by taking voluntary action now to measure, manage and reduce their impacts, there are huge opportunities for brands to stand out from the crowd.”
Almost all the consumers surveyed (90 per cent), want businesses to commit to the average 3 per cent annual carbon emissions cut required for the UK to meet 2050 climate change targets, while 70 per cent want businesses to disclose information regarding their impact on the environment.
Peter Walshe, global director for brand equity study BrandZ, said companies that take positive action to reduce their carbon footprint could result in a 2 per cent increase in business.
“Right now, this is an opportunity,” he said. “But as awareness rises of the considerable role of business emissions in climate change, I expect an imminent backlash against companies that do not perform or cannot prove their actions are measurable and authentic.”
The government has launched a consultation on plans to make carbon reporting mandatory for all UK businesses.