Green hushing: when you muzzle yourself

Restaurant Flammen Green hushing grøn marketing

What is green hushing?

Green hushing is, in short, when companies and organisations keep quiet about green initiatives and messages in fear of green washing . Something that actually comes from a good thought, as you don’t want to say something wrong as well as put the company in a bad light. The paradox is that it actually helps to hamper the green transition, as we need more companies to communicate their sustainability journey. Especially when no business can be 100% sustainable, as the world looks right now.

Why is it important we communicate our green actions even if few?

If the company does almost nothing in terms of climate, biodiversity and the environment, is it fair that they communicate green messages?

Absolutely yes!

Okay, that can be a tough pill to swallow. We don’t like it either when the fossil industry spends huge amounts on Google Ads on green keywords. Or that companies like Shell get an incredibly high ESG rating (Enviromental, Sustainable & Governmental). We’re all going on this journey together, and luckily there are different ways to communicate:

Ethical versus unethical green communication, which we write more about below.

Finally, when you communicate, it changes the mindset of yourself, your customers, employees and management. That’s why it’s so important that you actually communicate your actions, even if they are few and small. However, our clear recommendation is that you put in place a serious 10-year plan on how the company will reduce greenhouse gases, address biodiversity as well as social aspects.

Restaurant Flammen muzzled itself in fear of Green Washing

Watch the whole video below on grønmarketing.dk under chapter 02

Watch the full video now and learn much more at grønmarketing.dk under chapter 02

Do you muzzle yourself too?

You are not alone. Through our work in green communications, we have met several companies that typically say something like this: “Well, we can’t communicate green messages until we’ve actually finished developing our new products. So we’re not ready yet.” We hear it from new, current, former as well as bank colleagues.

Fortunately, leading sustainable brands are pretty clear on the subject: You should communicate your journey as early as possible. Both because it can lead to more sales of your greener products, which is the whole point, but also because it keeps you motivated to keep improving.

In fact, companies like Peter Larsen Kaffe and LETZ Sushi say they wish they had communicated earlier.

Source: check out our Green Marketing video series, where we talk about Green Washing and why the case companies recommend communicating the journey early.

Well, how do you avoid green hushing?

After all, you’re probably here because you want to learn how to actually avoid the phenomenon. According to us at TRIBE Media, it’s actually quite easy, but we can say that too, since we work with it every day.

Security is the whole point.

Once you’re comfortable communicating your greening efforts, the hushing will naturally go away.

Form to avoid green hushing

We run with the following ÆTA model, if you will:

  • Honesty
  • Transparency
  • Activity

Importantly, greenwashing only occurs when you say something decidedly wrong. Something that is obviously misleading, which makes it in violation of the Marketing Act regarding climate communication.

Greenwashing is not the following:

The company has 1% greener products, which is the only thing they communicate, despite the 99% other products being totally black.

This is what we would call unethical green marketing. Furthermore, in the eyes of the public it will typically be seen as green washing, even though it is not. On the other hand, marketing law also says that you have to start from how the average consumer would perceive the communication. So you can call it green washing, even if it’s not untrue.

Yes, it got a bit technical quickly, but the point is simply that by following the ÆTA model, you avoid both green washing as well as unethical green marketing.

For example, you could say the following that conforms to the ÆTA model:
“Our newly developed product line uses recycled plastics and we have started to use leather made from apple skin.

Yes, we know we’re not there yet, but we’re now taking concrete action. We promise this is just the start, and we’d love to hear your feedback and ideas. Together we make a difference.”

So here you are telling us that you have a new greener product, but also making no secret of the fact that you are far from being a green company.

Want to delve deeper into the subject?

Take part in our Green Marketing course and video series, where you will get even more knowledge and concrete examples from the case company, Restaurant Flammen.

A company that was itself affected by green hushing. In the wake of our video series, they’ve taken a serious dive into sustainability work, drawing up both plans and strategies.

See more in the video series and chapter 02 of our green marketing course on grønmarketing.dk

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