Green Hushing vs Greenwashing: The Silent Showdown of Corporate Sustainability

Who knew???

Before listening to Lauren Scott’s podcast the Resilience Report, I had no idea about the darker side of  sustainably. 

It got me thinking, which can be dangerous. I did a little research and write about what I learned below..

But if you want to keep up with all the changes  subscribe to Lauren’s podcast, and click the link to listen to her thoughts on green washing vs green hushing.

Do you know your greens? It’s not spinach and kale we’re talking about here, but the greener side of business. A tug of war is brewing between green hushing and greenwashing. Now, you might be thinking, “What in the world are these terms?” Buckle up and let’s dive into the green rabbit hole, decoding the secret language of corporate sustainability.

Greenwashing is a seasoned player on this field. It’s the crafty chameleon of corporate communications. Simply put, it’s when businesses exaggerate their eco-friendly actions to earn brownie points with consumers. Picture a company boasting about its new recycled packaging while discreetly dumping pollutants in the local river. That’s greenwashing for you, sneaky and misleading.

A classic example of greenwashing is Shell’s “Make the Future” campaign. Shell showcased its renewable energy investments, painting a picture of a rosy, eco-conscious future. However, Shell’s renewable investments account for a mere fraction of its fossil fuel ventures. Such clever sleight of hand dazzles consumers but masks the true carbon-heavy operations of the company.

However, meet green hushing – greenwashing’s shy cousin. Green hushing is a recent term turning heads in the corporate world. It’s when companies underplay or entirely keep mum about their genuine eco-efforts. A curious case of ‘do good but don’t tell.’ Fear is the key factor here – fear of being labeled greenwashers, fear of legal repercussions, or fear of sparking a backlash from the eco-conscious public. It’s a case of companies genuinely trying to be green but choosing to lurk in the shadows.

Take the case of a popular eco-tourism firm. This firm significantly reduced its carbon footprint by sourcing locally, cutting down on transportation emissions. Yet, it chose not to disclose this achievement to its clients, worried about the potential backlash. They feared any eco-claim could be seen as a marketing gimmick, thereby damaging their reputation. Here, genuine sustainability efforts fell prey to the fear of greenwashing allegations, leading to green hushing.

Between greenwashing and green hushing, we’ve got ourselves quite the green dilemma. Greenwashing misleads consumers, creating a distrustful environment. On the other hand, green hushing robs us of eco-success stories that could inspire change and breed hope for a greener future. Companies are walking on eggshells, trying to strike a balance between avoiding the smear of greenwashing and the silence of green hushing.

So, how do we tackle this silent showdown? The answer lies in transparency, honesty, and clearer regulations.

Companies need to embrace transparent communication. Transparency builds trust. It’s about telling your eco-story without fear or exaggeration. Show your consumers that you’re not just a brand, but a brand that cares for the planet.

Regulations also play a critical role. Clearer guidelines can help companies navigate the tricky terrain of eco-claims. When companies have a clearer idea of what’s allowed and what’s not, there’ll be less fear, less greenwashing, and less green hushing.

Why should this information matter to the ControlTrends Control Pro?

Well it might explain why some of your customers are not jumping up and down to get data analytics. It they are green washing it might disprove their claims of energy savings and if they are green hushing they might not want to call attention to their efforts. Both camps might be afraid of “green mail”….. kind of like black mail…. I just mad that up (I know it is bad)

As near as I can tell, green hushing and greenwashing represent two sides of the same coin, but they couldn’t be more different. One strives to trick us into believing a façade, while the other hides its genuine efforts behind a veil of silence. It’s high time we brought this silent showdown to light, promoting a culture of transparency and honesty, giving credit where it’s due, and debunking false claims. 

How can we  turn over a new leaf in the world of corporate sustainability? It starts with awareness, so thanks again to Lauren for shinning the spot light on this issue.


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