Insight  /  Planet
By Molly Presly
19th Mar 2024

Businesses are tending to take sustainability a lot more seriously nowadays, which is great, but to execute sustainable action properly we all need to have a good handle on what we’re talking about. Green washing – either deliberate or through genuine misunderstanding – is an easy rabbit hole to fall down.

We interviewed Amelia Lucas from Greenr to find out how businesses can avoid falling into the traps of common sustainability myths. Greenr is a sustainability as a service platform helping companies baseline their carbon footprint, engage their workforce to reduce emissions at source and support nature-based projects for any unavoidable emissions. Read on to find out the top 3 corporate sustainability myths and the truth behind them.

While the terms ‘net zero’ and ‘carbon neutral’ are frequently and mistakenly used interchangeably, they carry subtle distinctions that revolve around the comprehensiveness of their emission-balancing objectives.

‘Carbon neutral’ typically focuses on achieving a balance solely for carbon dioxide emissions, whereas ‘net zero’ encompasses all greenhouse gases, indicating a more holistic approach to emission reduction and removal. 

‘Net zero’ also conveys a heightened dedication to actively reducing and eliminating emissions, making it a term associated with a more comprehensive commitment to tackling climate change. The UN’s definition of Net Zero is as follows, ‘cutting carbon emissions to a small amount of residual emissions that can be absorbed and durably stored by nature and other carbon dioxide removal measures, leaving zero in the atmosphere’. This commitment helps address concerns related to greenwashing, as ‘net zero’ implies a more rigorous and transparent effort to not only offset emissions but also implement sustainable practices and adopt low-carbon technologies. At Greenr, we help companies achieve Net Zero by acting as an end-to-end sustainability coach to help companies measure their emissions and reduce them at source through our AI-powered carbon accountancy platform and Employee Engagement App that helps reduce emissions at their source. 

There is a common misconception that sustainability plans are just for large companies and not for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

However, SMEs make up 90% of businesses globally and create 2 out of 3 jobs worldwide. Because of this, SMEs make up 44% of the total UK non-household emissions, meaning they have huge influence over the potential to reduce carbon emissions. The European Union has recently introduced the Corporate and Social Responsibility Directive (CSRD), outlining more detailed reporting requirements for both EU and non-EU companies with significant operations in the region. Applying to approximately 50,000 companies, this directive places additional responsibility on SMEs. 

Sustainability is not just a passing trend – it’s here to stay.

The move toward sustainable practices isn’t only a response to what the public wants; it’s a recognition of the importance of safeguarding our planet’s biodiversity and ensuring the well-being of future generations. For example, 75% of employees said they wanted to work for an organisation that makes a positive contribution to society. The ongoing integration of sustainability into education, advancements in technology supporting eco-friendly solutions, and a broader cultural shift towards values that prioritise long-term well-being over short-term gains all contribute to the lasting significance of sustainability in our interconnected global economy. As societies increasingly understand the need for a balanced approach considering environmental, social, and economic factors, sustainability becomes an ingrained and integral part of our collective mindset and decision-making processes. 

One way we’re integrating these approaches at Marble is through our new partnership with Greenr to help calculate and refine our carbon emission figures, starting before it is mandatory by law to do so.

This partnership will help us accurately measure our carbon footprint and identify areas where we can make positive changes. To further support our carbon reduction efforts, we’re also using the Greenr lifestyle carbon reducing app to empower our team members to make a difference in their daily lives.

We believe that business is the single biggest tool for change and that collaborating through sharing resources, knowledge and practical recommendations is one of the best ways we can come together to reduce our and our clients’ planetary impact.