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Navigating the Green Wave: Making Sustainable Statements Matter

You've seen it on your favourite coffee brand – "100% Sustainable", and you've heard it from some of the big players in the UK like Unilever, with their ambitious sustainable living plan. Sustainability isn't just a buzzword; it’s the future of business. But how do you, as a UK business owner, ride this green wave amidst the coming tide of regulations? Let’s dive in.

1. A Snapshot: What's Changing?

📌 UK Sustainability Disclosure Standards (UK SDS)

Think of it as the 'ingredients list' for your company's sustainability actions. Much like how Cadbury lists all the cocoa sources, companies will soon list out their sustainability risks and opportunities. [ETA July 2024]

📌 EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)

Imagine you’re a local soap manufacturer, like Lush. Instead of just saying "Cruelty-Free", you’ll provide a bit more about where your ingredients come from, and their environmental impact. [The CSRD entered into force on 5 January 2023². The first companies will have to apply the new rules for the first time in the 2024 financial year, for reports published in 2025]

📌 UK Environment Act

Not only does this focus on broader goals like air quality and biodiversity, but also on the nitty-gritty. For instance, if you’re a furniture maker in Leeds, you’ll want to ensure the timber you use doesn’t harm forests elsewhere. [The Act was passed into law on 9 November 2021]

2. Why Should You Care?

🚀 Boost Consumer Confidence

Remember the Volkswagen emissions scandal? Don’t let your brand be caught in a trust crisis. Proper disclosures and genuine sustainable actions enhance brand trust.

🌱 Stay Ahead of the Curve Companies

like Marks & Spencer with their ‘Plan A’ saw increased profitability because consumers loved their commitment to sustainability. It’s good for the environment and the wallet.

🚫 Avoid the Greenwash

Nobody likes a show-off, especially if it's misleading. As more consumers get eco-savvy, businesses making shallow green claims (like those notorious "eco-friendly" plastic products) will face backlash.

3. Prepping Up: Your Game Plan

For Businesses

🔍 Understand the New Standards

Much like how you'd scout the best location for a shop or the trendiest design for a product, get to know these regulations inside out.

🌟 Showcase Your ESG Journey

Just as BrewDog does with their sustainability reports, be transparent. Share your challenges and triumphs. It makes for a great story!

✅ Get a Second Opinion

Ever considered getting an endorsement? Think of external verification like a celebrity endorsement, but for your sustainability creds.

For Consumers

🔗 Look for the Story Behind the Label

Does that eco-friendly tag come with a backstory? Dig a little deeper. Companies that truly care will have more to share than just a label.

4. Wrapping It Up: The Green Road Ahead

The green revolution isn’t coming; it’s here. And with the right preparation and genuine commitment, businesses can not only comply with these new regulations but thrive in this green economy. So, the next time you consider a sustainable step, remember it’s not just good for the world; it's fantastic for business!

❇️ IMAS are looking for a law firm we can partner with to help provide our clients with good advice. If you are interested in offering your services then please get in touch with us email or connect on Linkedin.❇️

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is for general informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. Please consult with an attorney for specific legal advice on any matter.


Source: 17/08/2023

(1) UK Sustainability Disclosure Standards - GOV.UK.

(3) New Requirements for Safety Data Sheets in 2021/2022: What you....

(7) US company impact of EU ESG reporting requirements - KPMG.

(8) European Parliament adopts CSRD - IAS Plus.

(9) World-leading Environment Act becomes law - GOV.UK.

(11) The Environment Act 2021- the key implications for planning.

(12) The Environment Act: Finally here but what comes next for UK ....

(14) Environment Act 2021 - Wikipedia.

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