LETTER: CIPR: 'greenwash' is now everywhere

There is no doubt that 'greenwashing' has become a major issue for the credibility of our industry and it is on the increase (News, 18 April).

James Wright
James Wright

Last year the CIPR became so concerned it set in motion the production of best practice advice for its members in this area to uphold high standards, a piece of work that I led. After six months of development, these were launched last month.

They are a solid step forward but there is still much more to do in educating practitioners of the potential pitfalls and dangers of greenwash, which is tainting PR's fragile reputation.

During our study for the CIPR we found greenwashing is not just prevalent in the corporate world, but also across government and some NGOs/pressure groups, particularly with regards to how environmental statistics are presented. It has become the new marketing opportunity for everyone.

As an industry often associated with different shades of grey, we have worryingly introduced different shades of green. Working together to act responsibly and professionally in advising clients or colleagues on green communications will improve standards.

We should be prepared as communication strategists to push back on a story if it does not stack up.

James Wright, director, Trimedia and chair of the CIPR Environmental Sustainability Guidelines

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