Corporate greenwashing is undermining UK preparation for climate shocks, EA chair warns

By Michael Holder for BusinessGreen

Emma Howard Boyd warns almost £650bn of planned public and private UK infrastructure investment at risk in current decade unless climate impacts are considered in planning

Widespread “greenwashing” is compromising efforts to prepare for worsening climate impacts such as floods and heatwaves, with almost £650bn of planned public and private UK infrastructure investment at risk in the current decade alone, the Environment Agency’s chair is to warn today.

In a major speech later, Emma Howard-Boyd, who is also interim chair of the Green Finance Institute, will warn that severe climate impacts must be more thoroughly considered in the planning and delivery of infrastructure in order to bolster the nation’s resilience to global warming.

At present however, both investors and the wider public are being let down by businesses which are “embedding liability” and “storing up risk for their investors” by giving a false or misleading impression that infrastructure and buildings they own or are developing are resilient to climate change, according to Howard-Boyd.

The danger is that people “won’t realise this deception until it’s too late”, she is to say in comments trailed ahead of a speech at the Institution of Civil Engineers.

“The more businesses are transparent about their plans to transition to net zero and prepare for climate shocks, the easier it is to benchmark best practice, set standards and celebrate the companies that really are delivering on their commitments,” Howard-Boyd will say.

“As with the government’s ambition for net zero by 2050, delivering on climate resilience and nature recovery requires robust, consistent and trusted data. If we fail to identify and address greenwashing, we allow ourselves false confidence that we are already addressing the causes and treating the symptoms of the climate crisis.”

Read the full story on BusinessGreen here.

Photo by Chris Gallagher on Unsplash