“Greenhushing” and Effects on Sustainability Efforts

We have all heard of and seen “Greenwashing”, when organizations state claims of environmental sustainability as a marketing tactic vs. an actual change for good. Well, in addition to Greenwashing, we can now add “Greenhushing” to our vocabulary. “Greenhushing” or “secret sustainability” is when a company decides to keep quiet about their environmental achievements and programs for fear of being labeled Greenwashing among other concerns.  At first glance, this doesn’t seem to make sense; why would a company knowingly hide or keep quiet about a positive change they are enacting towards improving the environment? A few reasons could be to negate bad press, or to avoid further attention into other parts of their business that may not be sustainable, putting them at risk for media scrutiny, or fear of being seen as a political and isolating customers.

Many companies are just not confident enough or know how to effectively share their sustainability goals. It is suggested, to overcome and/or avoid “greenhushing, companies should invest in data and take appropriate efforts to track their sustainability efforts. Such as monitoring their sustainability efforts on a continued basis and with a third party. Collecting this data can provide transparency and shine light on where a business may need to kick up their sustainability efforts. Plus, this puts the narrative in the companies’ hands, showing consumers they are actively working towards more environmental responsibility and sustainable business practices.