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Environment Agency chief hits out at greenwashing by businesses

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Widespread greenwashing by businesses is compromising efforts to prepare for climate impacts such as floods and heatwaves, the chair of the Environment Agency will say in a speech on Monday.Emma Howard Boyd, addressing the UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment Annual Forum, will warn businesses are embedding liability and storing up risk for their investors by giving the false impression they are addressing the climate crisis.The danger is, she says, that people “won’t realise this deception until it is too late”.Howard Boyd addresses concerns over greenwashing after the climate change committee said last week in its annual progress report that the government was failing to enact the policies needed to reach the UK’s net zero targets.Lord Deben, chair of the committee and a former Conservative environment secretary, said the government had set strong targets on cutting emissions but policy to achieve them was lacking. “The government has willed the ends, but not the means,” he said.Howard Boyd, who leaves the Environment Agency in September, is interim chair of the Green Finance Institute.

She will say that nearly £650bn of public and private infrastructure investment planned by 2030 is at considerable risk unless increasingly severe climate impacts are considered in planning and delivery.“As with the government’s ambition for net zero by 2050, delivering on climate resilience and nature recovery requires robust, consistent and trusted data,” she will say in her speech.“If we fail to identify and address greenwashing, we allow ourselves false confidence that we are already addressing the causes and treating the symptoms of the climate crisis.”Howard Boyd is set to praise the work of activist NGOs including

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