Top Stories

June 30, 2022


Big consumer brands accused of greenwashing over packaging

Claims about plastic packaging being eco-friendly made by big brands, including P&G, Tesco, Coca-Cola and Unilever, are “misleading greenwashing”, according to a report from the Changing Markets Foundation (CMF). The report states some of the most common misleading examples used by companies are products claiming to intercept and use “ocean-bound” or “recyclable” plastic to tackle the plastic pollution crisis. CMF argues the statements are made with little proof about how the products address the crisis in plastic pollution with the materials used either difficult to recycle, not recyclable, or using only a small fraction of “ocean-bound” plastic collected through clean-ups. Plastic packaging in the UK makes up nearly 70% of the country’s plastic waste, of which less than 10% of everyday plastic gets recycled. (The Guardian)


Sustainable Apparel Coalition halts transparency programme over greenwashing claims

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) has paused its consumer-facing transparency programme after criticism from Norway’s advertising watchdog. The Norwegian Consumer Authority (NCA) voiced concern over the use of the SAC’s proprietary Higg Index to make environmental claims – a tool which gives a standardised measurement of the environmental impacts of different textile types in the manufacture of clothing. The Index measures the impact of different types of textiles based on average figures for the environmental impact of materials sourced globally, rather than the finished garment. As such, the SAC argues this risks clothing companies making unsubstantiated and “overheated claims” about the sustainability of their garments, posing legal dangers. Authorities, notably in the EU, are preparing new sustainability regulations for the clothing industry with plans to unveil rules for “green claims” later this year. (Financial Times*; Just Style)


Fossil fuel & polluting industries face surge in climate lawsuits

The world’s most polluting companies are increasingly being targeted by lawsuits challenging their inaction on climate change and attempts to spread misinformation, according to a report by researchers from the London School of Economics. In addition to the fossil fuel industry, the report finds the food and agriculture, transport, plastics and finance sectors are increasingly targets of lawsuits. The number of climate change-related litigation lawsuits around the world has more than doubled since 2015 and roughly one-quarter of the 2,002 recorded cases to date were filed in the past two years alone. Proven to be an effective strategy for boosting climate action, climate litigation was identified in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report as one of several important new avenues through which climate policy is being shaped around the world. (The Guardian; Business Green*)


Amazon restricts search of LGBT goods in United Arab Emirates

Online retail giant Amazon has moved to restrict items and search results related to LGBTQ people and issues on its website in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The firm took the step after reportedly being threatened with penalties from authorities in the Gulf state. Same-sex sexual relations are illegal in the UAE and expressing support for LGBTQ rights can also be deemed an offence. Critics argue that Amazon’s restrictions on products in the Emirates are indicative of the compromises that tech companies are willing to make to operate in restrictive countries, even when professing to be adamant about free expression. The news comes as Pride month, which is dedicated to celebrating LGBT people around the world, comes to a close. (BBC News; New York Times*)


EU countries reach deal on climate laws after late-night talks

Environment ministers from the European Union's 27 member states have agreed their joint positions on five laws, in a bid to ensure the EU reaches its 2030 target of reducing net emissions by 55% from 1990 levels. The laws will require governments and industries to invest heavily in cleaner manufacturing, renewable energy and electric vehicles. Ministers supported a law requiring new cars sold in the EU to emit zero CO2 from 2035. Ministers also backed a new EU carbon market to impose CO2 costs on polluting fuels used in transport and buildings, agreed to form a €59 billion EU fund to shield low-income citizens from the policy's costs, and rallied behind reforms to the EU's current carbon market requiring industry and power plants to pay for pollution. (Reuters)


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