‘From greenwash to greenhush’ Business Forum report

Accusations of greenwash about food businesses are ramping up.  Companies should be prepared to be held to account for environmental, nutrition and other claims they make about their brands and products. Anecdotally some in food businesses are saying that there is a risk that leaders are becoming risk averse and are not prepared to make green or health claims, thus potentially stifling the business cases for healthier, more sustainable food in future.

We are seeing brands starting to move away from using terms like ‘carbon neutral’, whilst others are using phrases such as ‘from regenerative farming’, without terms necessarily being clearly defined.

There is clearly a balance to be struck, but how can those in food and farming businesses get that right if we need legitimate and grounded, but bold, claims to create market demand for greener, healthier food? In this Business Forum, we explored where is the sweet spot between ‘greenwashing’ and ‘greenhushing’ and how should agri-food businesses navigate this tension?

Speakers were Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the Advertising Standards Authority; Sally Uren, Chief Executive of Forum for the Future; and Dominic Watkins, Partner and Global Lead, Consumer Sector, at law firm DWF. Dan Crossley, Executive Director of the Food Ethics Council chaired the meeting.