Keep our industry clean (of greenwashing)

Dangers of greenwashing

The environment, carbon footprint and sustainability all offer rich opportunities for less than scrupulous companies to make virtuous-sounding claims about their products or policies.

But if these claims cannot be backed up with sufficient proof, or are being used to detract from or hide other less environmentally friendly facts, this is called greenwashing.  Its papering over the cracks instead of repairing them for good; short-term image-hacks instead of facing up to the issue and making real change.

 

Surprisingly, even large companies with a lot to lose in terms of public relations and brand value have been caught in the act of greenwashing:

  • Starbucks launched a ‘straw-less lid’ as part of its commitment to sustainability, despite the new lid containing more plastic than the original lid and straw combined.
  • In 2019, IKEA built what it called its ‘most sustainable store’, but only after demolishing a 17-year-old store (also meant to be sustainable) to make way for it.
  • Volkswagen infamously programmed technological cheat devices to mask the true emissions levels of some of its diesel engines during testing, while projecting itself as a green-thinking manufacturer.
  • As recently as June 2022, Tesco was fined by the Advertising Standards Agency for being unable to back up claims that their plant-protein-based meat alternatives are more environmentally friendly than real meat.

 

What climate change action is Avena doing right now?

 

At Avena confidential shredding, we genuinely take our environmental responsibility seriously. Too seriously to make it an opportunity to score cheap green points, either in the services we offer or the way we promote them.  We know we haven’t yet achieved total sustainability or net zero emissions. The energy we use in the secure destruction of documents and textiles comes from the National Grid, like every other company in this sector. But within the constraints of commercial viability, we are focusing on areas where we can make a difference.

  • We are ISO 14001 accredited for “The Provision of Destruction and Recycling Services”. This means we are third-party verified as having a robust, certified environmental management system that we adhere to, and we are regularly audited to ensure we remain compliant.
  • 100% of all paper we shred is recycled within the United Kingdom. This means that none of it ends up in a landfill, nor is it shipped to another country.  The practice of exporting waste paper to cheap labour countries increases the carbon footprint of the recycling process and makes any processing of the waste paper harder to trace and control.
  • 90% of the paper we shred is made into cleaning and hygiene products. Using recycled fibre for these products saves manufacturers from having to rely on virgin pulp, getting the maximum useful life from existing material.
  • The clothing industry is a major contributor to overflowing landfill sites globally. While the volume of clothing we handle is a drop in the ocean, the fibres produced in our shredding process are used in the manufacture of new products such as acoustic panelling. Once again, this reduces reliance on virgin fibres and the accumulating volume of synthetic fabric entering the environment each year.
  • We regular review our business processes and those of our suppliers, taking advantage of new ideas and technologies that become viable methods to reduce our carbon and environmental footprint.

 

Climate Change affects us all…

If you would like to discuss our environmental commitments, or how we can partner with you to further your own improvements, please get in contact with us today.