Coming Clean: Greenwashing vs Purple Crane

Coming Clean: Greenwashing vs Purple Crane

In the crowded field of business software development, vendors are keen to champion their environmental credentials as a positive marketplace differentiator. While other companies talk, Purple Crane acts. And we now have the credentials to prove it.

Technology, and what we’ll broadly call ‘the environment' have had an occasionally uneasy relationship. Big tech companies, including Tesla, have been accused of ‘greenwashing’ – a word first coined back in 1986 by environmentalist Jay Westervelt  – to describe the practice of misleading consumers about the environmental credentials of a company or its products.


In 2013, US firm Westinghouse championed nuclear power in a commercial. “Did you know nuclear energy is the largest source of clean air energy in the world?” Spoiler alert―It isn’t. That’s hydropower, and in a bitter irony, their plant leaks radioactive waste into New York’s groundwater. 

More will follow. The tech marketing world is as fast-changing and volatile as our own, and businesses will use environmental terminology to align with current trends and appeal to changing consumer values. Vegan electronics, anyone? So, talking the talk is easy and widespread. 

Purple Crane walks the walk

Purple Crane is a company of standards. We're ISO 9001 certified, so our work is regularly audited to improve the quality of everything we do.  Our senior development team are members of the BCS - Chartered Institute for IT, work to their Code of Conduct by ‘Making IT Good for Society’.

But those are domestic, professional accreditations, and the environmental challenge is global. What we do in London matters everywhere. 

So, as a carbon neutral company our emissions have been calculated based on the ISO 14064 and GHG Emissions Protocol Accounting Standards. Those are box-ticking exercises and action matters most, so we think green in everything we do and work sustainably, always. We don’t do greenwashing―there really is no point. 

“Thinking and acting sustainably isn’t aspirational, so much as essential for any company seeking green credibility with its customers.” Andy Rix, Purple Crane

Misleading customers by not acting and thinking in the context of the whole planet deceives all of us. There’s no business advantage in succeeding in a world suffering an environmental disaster every single day.  

The fightback starts here

Purple Crane is a certified Carbon Neutral Business, joining Google, Sky, M&S, and Logitech. 

These accreditations are not issued lightly. Companies must produce tangible proof their ‘greening’ efforts neutralise the carbon their business activities add to the atmosphere. For Microsoft that means the Xbox One X has a 90% lower power consumption than the Xbox 360.  In 2021, Sky built the first product, a TV, to be certified as carbon neutral. 

Here's what we’re doing

For us, like them, this means that the data for any corporate activities producing CO2 have been calibrated over a financial year and validated against agreed standards, ISO 14064 and the GHG Emissions Protocol Accounting Standard, and the company then ‘backfilling’ the residue through a carbon offsetting program. We’ve chosen Carbon Neutral Britain, who showcases their projects here. 

Carbon offsetting isn’t a perfect system, none is, but this is a key milestone on a longer journey that we hope will help slow down our collective arrival at the approaching climate ‘tipping points’. 

So, we’re exceeding our targets by offsetting more than our calculated, ‘in-house’ emissions by offsetting our CO2 usage from services such as the Internet and cloud services which, technically, counts against those of the provider. As recent events have shown, climate change is right in front of us and there’s little point in doing the bare minimum when the mercury is rising.

We know we can do better and always aspire to do so. Just as the rate of greenhouse gas emissions increases, so do the opportunities to negate those activities. This will underpin our future business and growth strategies. There’s more on how we’re greening Purple Crane here. 

Any customers outsourcing to us, or growing their business by creating bespoke, core applications, can be sure this work is part of the future solution, not the current problem. Contact us today.