What is ‘green hushing’?
While “greenwashing” involves exaggerating or falsely claiming eco-friendly practices, “green hushing” is perceived as downplaying or remaining silent about a company’s genuine efforts toward sustainability in fear of ‘saying something wrong’ or being ‘caught out’ due to underperforming on its carbon reduction targets or other ‘green goals’.
This lack of communication or transparency may increase anxiety and frustration among environmentally-conscious consumers, believing a business is doing nothing to reduce its impact on the planet.
What is ‘eco-anxiety’?
On the other hand, “eco-anxiety” refers to the feelings of stress, fear, and despair that some individuals experience due to concerns about the environment, climate change, and the planet’s overall health.
To avoid contributing to eco-anxiety and to promote transparency and authenticity as a business, consider the following steps:
- Communicate your sustainability efforts: Be open and transparent about your company’s sustainability initiatives. Share your progress, achievements, and ongoing challenges with customers, employees, and other stakeholders.
- Educate consumers: Offer information about sustainable practices and the positive impact of eco-friendly choices. Educating consumers can empower them to make more informed and sustainable decisions.
- Use positive messaging: Instead of focusing solely on the negative aspects of environmental issues, emphasise the positive outcomes of sustainable actions. Highlight success stories and the difference consumers can make by choosing sustainable products and services.
- Set realistic goals: While ambitious sustainability goals are essential, ensure they are achievable and supported by a clear roadmap. Demonstrating progress, even in small steps, can foster hope and motivation among stakeholders. And if you don’t know what figures to start with – state your goal is to find them! Complete a baseline audit of your current environmental footprint and start there.
- Engage with eco-conscious consumers: Seek feedback from environmentally-conscious consumers and involve them in your sustainability initiatives. Their input can provide valuable insights and help shape your strategies.
- Support eco-friendly causes: Consider supporting environmental initiatives or partnering with reputable environmental organisations. This can demonstrate your commitment to environmental stewardship beyond your business operations.
- Prioritise employee well-being: Recognise that eco-anxiety may affect some employees. Foster a supportive work environment that encourages open discussions and provides resources for managing stress related to environmental concerns.
- Foster a culture of sustainability: Integrate sustainable practices into your company culture. Encourage employees to generate ideas for environmental improvements and recognise and reward sustainable efforts.
- Monitor and improve: Regularly assess your sustainability efforts and improve based on feedback, changing circumstances, and emerging best practices.
By being authentic, transparent, and proactive in your sustainability efforts, you can avoid contributing to eco-anxiety and instead inspire and empower consumers to make sustainable choices. Building trust with your audience through genuine sustainability practices can benefit your business and the environment in the long run.
Who are Be Ethical?
With 35+ years of experience in responsible business practices, Be Ethical support forward-thinking leaders to succeed on their sustainability journeys.
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