Market Insight by Jon Duncan - Greenwashing, a sign of a maturing market

2023 saw a sharp increase in reported greenwashing allegations, notably in the energy and finance sectors . In many cases, these allegations resulted in formal legal proceedings and in some instances fines . Tackling greenwashing in this way is a welcome sign of a healthy functioning market and should not be mistaken for evidence that the science of sustainability is a ‘woke leftie agenda’ to be rooted out of the ‘free market’. Dismissing sustainability risks on this basis is a classic case of throwing the proverbial scientific baby out with the bathwater. 

Our current global understanding of sustainability issues is well supported by a diverse set of international academic institutions focusing on complex system science. Supporting the development of this collective understanding is the rapid growth of real-time geospatial monitoring of water, air, soil, pollution, and biodiversity metrics along with a step change in both computing and processing power. This fast-growing set of satellite and real time monitoring technologies provides a strong evidence-based view of the emergent system risks facing the planet. While there is growing consensus amongst global scientific bodies that sustainability risks are material, there is also a growing political divide about the solutions.