How Can You Avoid Green Botching?

一    Radhika Arapally
|    April 26, 2023

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Green Botching and how to avoid it?

After  Greenwashing and  Greenhushing, now comes  Green botching. 

As I read this comment, I did some research into the topic to grasp its meaning. After investigating, here is my take on the term “Green botching”. 

What is Green botching? 

It is well-intentioned environmental measures that are so badly implemented that they backfire. 

Why does this occur? 

Let’s analyse this by looking at daily scenarios we come across: 

  1.  Ban on Plastic bags,  we agree that plastic bags should be banned because they are not widely recycled and don’t decompose well. Yet another school of thought believes that plastic usage should be managed, not banned; that it is the misuse and improper disposal of plastic bags that are causing harm to the environment, not the product itself. The ban will not save the environment from the ill effects of a ‘throw-away’ mentality. The focus should be on reducing, reusing, and recycling all raw materials. 
  2. The second typical example that comes to mind is  Carbon Offsetting. I have spoken at length to many experts who either accept Carbon Offsetting or disapprove of it vehemently. The effectiveness of Carbon Offsetting has been questioned, and there are concerns about the accountability and transparency of the offsetting industry. Should it only be used as a last resort, or is it a valid reduction method within the industry?
  3. Third is my typical cauliflower example; the  average yield  of a cauliflower is 75%; however, if we put in our best specialist efforts, the yield is 95%. So is the 20% difference “Green botching”, as we are not getting the total return on our investment and causing damage by throwing away good food?
  4. Another popular example is Damas Tree – as you drive around UAE, you will notice popularity of trees in UAE, as they are heat resistant, however we have all learnt the dangers of the tress and damas trees are now phasing out / felled to protect infrastructure.

How can avoid it? 

  1. As we go through the green transition and progress rapidly; we will encounter more scenarios as we struggle with consumers and governments trying to balance behaviour change and transition; there will be various phases of green botching. 
  1. The need for global consistency and standardisation and applying one rule for all will yield more scenarios of Green botching. 
  1. Access to more knowledge and the overall sustainability narrative will support in controlling it. 
  1. Also looking at completeness of a solution will also support in phasing out some of the initiatives in early stages. 

What is our POV? 

Sustainability, for me, has always been balanced and contextual to an individual’s location and needs. I believe, when dealing with the green transition, we will all go through a phase of Green botching. I suppose this is required in small doses to change habits for the long term.  

It will be interesting to hear your opinions on this subject! 

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