Published on 22 Jun 2023

Call out greenwashing, crack down on it: Opinion

When businesses declare themselves carbon neutral, they must prove it, said Assoc Prof Kelvin Law from Nanyang Business School in a commentary.

News broke recently that Delta Air Lines is facing a class-action lawsuit over its advertising claims of being carbon neutral. But it is only the latest company to face a backlash for alleged greenwashing claims.

Britain’s advertising watchdog has been keeping a sharp eye on companies making green claims. In 2020, it ordered budget carrier Ryanair to stop advertising itself as a “low CO2 emissions airline” as there wasn’t enough evidence to back the claim.

In the past few months, the same authority has also directed Etihad Airways and Lufthansa to remove claims such as “sustainable aviation” and “protecting its future” in their ads because consumers may misunderstand these claims.

So, what exactly is greenwashing? Simply put, greenwashing is no different from false advertising. It creates the impression of a company that is environmentally friendly when that may not really be the case, writes Assoc Prof Law. 

Media coverage