Everybody these days wants a slice of the low carbon pie.

The impetus for business to go green is building all the time and the key reason is that, besides being good for the environment and corporate consciences, it’s also increasingly good for bottom lines. As a consequence, companies are willing to speculate with a view to longer term accumulating those green pounds. Hence M&S’s mega spend on its Plan A sustainability strategy and BP’s on its cheery sunflower ID (sales of which flower, curiously, have dipped in Louisiana recently).

Further proof of the eco-wave sweeping the business world is the growing impetus of the Forest Footprint Disclosure project (FFD), which just launched its second report. The initiative provides companies with a tool for highlighting the sustainability and transparency of their procurement policy for “forest risk” commodities, including timber. More businesses signed up for inclusion in the new report – including more timber operations – and more sponsors are backing the initiative.

Inevitably, the value of being seen to be green is also tempting some companies to stretch a point on environmental performance. Some go further and freshen up their corporate image with an expertly applied coat of greenwash, making unravelling bona fide eco claims from bogus increasingly complex.

A knock-on from the rising worth of a green corporate image is, of course, rising interest in carbon trading, where companies buy ‘carbon offsets’ to balance their carbon footprint. The value of these was underlined by the recent theft of two million from EU?carbon markets.

The growth of this business has also led to some outright falacious and many confusing market claims. An example of the confusing variety was drawn to TTJ’s attention this week. It involved Flashbay, a maker of branded USB memory sticks. These are the sort of thing companies give away at exhibitions and Flashbay’s range includes a timber-cased model called “Nature”. On its website, it makes a big deal of its environmental performance. It highlights not only that the wood used for Nature is FSC-certified (which it is), but that its business overall is carbon neutral. Where things became confusing was when you clicked on the carbon neutrality link and were led to a “No Carbon Footprint” certificate. This was issued by “The Carbon Free Company” and signed by one Bartosz Wojszko. But, while profiling its carbon offset projects, including a forestry initiative, The Carbon Free Company’s website had very little other information and no contact details. And a web search identified Mr Wojszko as a Flashbay graphic technician.

In response to our queries, Flashbay said that The Carbon Free Company was, in fact, a business it set up to sell on carbon offsets from JP Morgan Climatecare, but stressed that so far it had only purchased these to offset its own operation. A day later the No Carbon Footprint certificate was replaced on Flashbay’s site with a JP Morgan one and The Carbon Free Company site became a “carbon offset portal for Flashbay”. The offset projects, which were actually JP Morgan’s, went too.

Timber’s strength in all this is that it doesn’t need to confuse, bamboozle or splash the greenwash. Its message is clear and transparent: it’s a renewable, low energy, highly insulating carbon store. We should make more of this than ever, while at the same time highlighting the spurious or curious eco claims of others who try to sell us services or compete with our products. So if you have any examples of these please point them TTJ’s way.