You’ve probably heard of whitewashing. This term is defined as the glossing over or covering up of shocking information through biased presentation of facts. Its definition, according to the dictionary, is to attempt to stop people finding out the true facts about a situation.

Greenwashing is similar. It’s when a false impression or misleading information is used about how a company is environmentally sound; when, in fact, it’s not.

It’s when a company or organisation spends more effort and money on saying that they’re environmentally friendly instead of being environmentally friendly by taking the right actions.  

While it’s honourable to take action, especially when your heart is in the right place, it’s essential not to fall in the trap of doing and saying things that won’t have the correct impact.

This can also be applied to helping bees and planting trees. Both involve taking decisions that should be made with thoughtful and careful consideration.

We know it’s vital to encourage the wellbeing of bees and it sounds a simple solution to, for example, buy a hive and hope for the best. But, in fact, there are many things that need to be considered and without the advice of a beekeeper you could do more harm than good. Read why bees are vital to a heathy economy.

Similarly, tree planting is a vital part of natural-based solutions to help reverse the climate and environment breakdown and assist with our planet’s recovery – but it must be done correctly. That’s why we subscribe to the mantra: “Plant the right tree, at the right time in the right place” as established by our project delivery Phil Macari of Wildcraft.

For advice on planting trees, The Woodland Trust is an excellent source of authoritative guidance.

If either are done incorrectly it could be classed as beewashing and treewashing and becomes merely a marketing spin with actions that often don’t work and may even do more harm than good.

This is essentially the same as whitewashing or greenwashing.

Without taking the right advice you could fall foul of best practice and, importantly, achieving the desired effects.

Stop and think! If in doubt, get the right advice first. It will not only endorse the integrity of your project but also be the right responsible thing to do.

We’ll be addressing these issues at our Climate Action 2020 World Environment Day conference on Friday 5 June at the Ramside Hall in Durham.  

Speakers include David Hetherington, Cairngorms National Park & Lynx and Us; Prof Alastair Driver, Rewilding Britain; James Fearnley, BeeArc Centre; and Barbara Keating, Tyneside Beekeepers Association and Bee Filmmaker.

As in previous year, alongside our inspiring speakers, there will be an excellent gathering of exhibitors at the conference, great food and plenty of opportunity to network. Book your tickets here.

If you’re interested in sponsoring or supporting this conference please do get in touch via sharon@climateactionnortheast.co.uk.

The time for talking is over. Today we need to act.