We frequently hear of greenwashing claims associated with companies and industries, but on the opposite end of the spectrum there is something called ‘greenhushing’. ’Greenhushing’ refers to businesses who remain silent or very quiet about their environmental impact and sustainable actions. They often do this out of the fear that it could backfire with greenwashing accusations which irreversibly can damage a company’s reputation. However, what many businesses don’t realise is that being open about imperfect sustainability can help drive positive change within their industry. In fact, studies show that climate conscious consumers appreciate and trust companies that are transparent and willing to share their imperfections, with a commitment to continue their efforts. In this article we dive into what it does and doesn’t mean to be a climate conscious business and why your focus shouldn’t be on environmental perfection.
Sustainability has no set definition, but one thing is for certain.
Sustainability is complex and the term itself means a lot of different things to different people. There is no clear cut answer, which is why it generally relates more to eco transitions, than perfection. Where the real focus should lie is on transparency and genuine commitment to good causes.
To this day, we see marketing campaigns aiming to be eye-catching and creative above everything else. A great and recent example of this was Gymshark’s participation in WWF’s #WorldWithoutNature a couple of weeks ago. The fitness giant removed the sharkhead logo from their web page and socials and used it to jump on this sustainability trend, captioning the campaign “We stand together to champion a better future for all people and nature”. Okay Gymshark, great visuals, but what are you actually doing other than getting your socials team to alter a logo? This campaign can be seen as a noticeable awareness gesture considering the size of the brand, but we can’t seem to view it as anything else but a marketing trick. Gymshark could’ve made this campaign so much more powerful if they showcased their action and made real commitments to environmental protection. We need more action and transparency as opposed to empty statements shared by brands to boost weekly engagement.
Sustainable Marketing at its core.
In the past, sustainable marketing was all about maximising sales. During the first Earth Day in 1970, corporations spent eight times more on establishing a green image through advertising than the amount they spent on environmental research initiatives. Although some companies haven’t progressed much with their business model from those times, we have undoubtedly seen the sustainable marketing practice transform into much more than tree planting. Nowadays the focus lies on how you can change buyer behaviours as well as the methods involved in how you push and market your services. In 2022, sustainable marketing goes beyond launching a sustainable campaign. It is about adapting current business models, and driving change internally and externally.
Your focus shouldn’t be on environmental perfection
Naturally, every business has its strengths and weaknesses and when it comes to sustainability transitions, you should focus on a few key areas instead of trying to do it all at once. At the end of the day, we don’t need a handful of companies doing ‘sustainability perfectly’, we need millions of companies doing it imperfectly.
Climate Conscious Marketing is a vehicle for sustainable brands to spread authentic messaging that has the potential to not only drive sales and brand loyalty but to enable positive global change that reaches far beyond their own clients. Get in touch today to learn more about how we can support you.