Last Monday we touched on the theme of greenwashing, a trend that also, unfortunately, can be seen in the office space market.
Because designing offices and the creation of a workplace environment isn’t a walk in the park, we take a detailed look today at one trend that as professionals we certainly can’t ignore. This is the trend of greenwashing.
Maybe you have not heard of this term before, so first we will define what greenwashing actually represents.
“Greenwashing includes, for example, the dissemination of misleading information with the aim of creating an image of the company with the general public of being an environmentally responsible firm. Another form of greenwashing includes banal measures that are given inflated importance using PR methods.”
Greenwashing first started to appear in the 1980s. A tipping point came with the summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, when the Business Council for Sustainable Development and the International Chamber of Commerce, which were to defend the interests of large commercial entities and also evoke an impression of sustainable development among individual corporations. The largest PR agency, Burson-Marsteller, was hired to present the environmentally friendly behaviour of companies. Thanks to this any mention of corporations was completely left out of the important documents, such as the Earth Charter and Agenda 21.
Greenwashing & offices
A classic example of greenwashing can be a hotel chain that declares itself “green” due to the fact that guests can sleep on the same sheets and reuse towels. In actual fact they are doing only the very minimum in the saving of water and energy in areas that really matter, such as lighting, vehicles and restaurant services.
In offices it can be a similar story: various acoustic certificates or readings that no one is able to validate, declarations on recycling that remain just on paper… greenwashing can have a whole range of forms. How can we avoid these detrimental efforts at greenwashing?
This question will be answered by Dan Heuer, one of the speakers at this year’s conference. “The solution is to engage with stakeholders and, above all, employees. By doing this you ensure a reversal of the sustainability energy – “bottom-up”. Specific activities will be based on actual requirements, and marketing will have a sufficient supply of juicy and true material. By engaging employees and other stakeholders we can easily avoid greenwashing as it will soon be uncovered…”
Dan will be part of the panel discussion, where the theme “green truth and lies” will be covered in detail… We will look at greenwashing both as a concept and using specific examples.
Join the discussion
Have you come across any greenwashing methods? Are you annoyed by any market practices that smack of greenwashing? Write to us now.
Join in the discussion at our conference. If you would like to raise a specific case, you can also do it anonymously. We want to improve market practice, and greenwashing has no place in the market.
Registration for the conference is still taking place.
Take the opportunity to reserve your place now.