In the 80s, we realised CFCs were eating a hole in the ozone layer.

To stop the planet becoming a wasteland, we replaced CFCs with chemicals called HFCs.

But eventually, we found there was a catch.

HFCs are greenhouse gases. They can warm the planet hundreds of thousands of times more than carbon dioxide. So now, we’re phasing out HFCs too.

Sustainability isn’t a destination. It’s a learning curve.

What does that mean for B2B marketing?

Of course, we should work with third parties to set science-based targets.
Of course, we should move towards those targets in concrete ways.
And of course, we can work with independent bodies to ratify progress.*

But also, should we stop making claims like ‘we’re leading sustainable change’? Do we need to recognise that any action is just an informed choice, based on the best data we have?

After all, greenwashing regulations will soon require B2B brands to substantiate broad claims like “carbon neutral.”**

And perhaps, no brand can prove for once and for all that it’s ‘sustainable.’ Because we never know what the science will say in five years.

What we can do is name highly specific actions we’re taking right now – and quote hard data.

That’s the simple truth. That’s real proof.

We make the complicated simple.

*For example, B Corp or the IFRS Sustainability Alliance
**For example, check out the EU Green Claims Directive
Secondary source: RepRisk 2023 report on greenwashing risk