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So what is Greenwashing?

Greenwashing is a term which is often wheeled out when it comes to discussions around carbon offsetting schemes. But what does it mean and why do people use it as a reason to be negative and not support projects which are making a real difference to our planet?

Justyn Branton, a co-founder of Climate Wise, responded to this in our frequently asked questions and one of our social media contacts, The Little Green Blog, raised exactly this question in an article that you can find here.

Greenwashing is a broad-brush term often applied where companies are considered to be paying money and purchasing credits for projects which are improving the climate without trying to change their practices to reduce their carbon footprint. Essentially, they are using the payments to relieve them of a sense of obligation to make changes to their own activities.

By way of example, we’ll take a company which identifies that its business produces 100 tonnes of CO2 per annum related to company travel.

This company has three options:

  • It could buy 100 tonnes of CO2 offset from offset schemes, which are available from projects which positively impact the environment
  • It could stop all company travel
  • Or it could do a mixture of the two

Greenwashing occurs where the company chooses to just pay for the 100 tonnes offset and not change their practices at all.

Here at Climate Wise we urge people, companies and groups to minimise their carbon footprints. Ideally this should be done through lifestyle changes or alterations to the way they do business, but where this is not possible the remainder should be offset. This gets them to zero, or even negative carbon footprint so that they are a net climate improver!

Achieving this clearly takes time, and to get to net zero is not easy. Our focus is to continually learn about new ways to reduce the footprint of a person or a company. By doing this, we hope to support the measurement and estimation of carbon footprints.

Each individual has a different set of circumstances, and each company and group is different, Climate Wise recommends that all individuals and organisations do what they are able to in order to reduce their footprints by making positive choices.

Whatever path is chosen, and whatever steps are taken, the fact remains that everyone, and every entity, still leaves a residual footprint, and it is this that Climate Wise helps them to wipe clean.

All projects supported by Climate Wise are certified projects by either Gold Standard or the UN, and as we move into the development of our own projects, we will ensure our projects meet these standards. Without outside investment these projects would simply not get started or make the amazing differences that they do.

As an individual, however, you have a responsibility – do what you can and we will aggregate donations, crowdfund, and take care of the rest…

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Climate Wise, together we can make the change



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