How to communicate about sustainability efforts when there’s still a long way to go for your brands?

May 25, 2022

Author:
Clemence

“Greenwashing” is a recent notion that is increasingly known as the importance of sustainability increases. The term is used to explain when brands or companies spend more time and money on marketing themselves as being sustainable, than on actually minimising their environmental impact.

On the other hand, Greenhushing is when businesses are not communicating on their environmental actions. The communication of their sustainability can be nonexistent or partially because of fear to non doing enough, not being aware, the fear of being accused of greenwashing, ect. The balance between the greenwashing and the greenhush can be tricky to find and is a challenge for the communication of brands.

Communication is crucial for brands and can be a double-edge sword, if the communication strategy is not handled well. Especially today with the practice of the cancel culture, we observed that scandals can be found on the internet, and change the complete opinion of people. As mentioned in the report of McKinsey, the new generations, such as the Gen Z  ( people born between 1996 and 2010)  are looking for transparency and honesty on these topics which represent a leverage of purchase. In fact, 60% of the customers declare that their purchase depends on the green image and honesty of the brand.

Social media is a wonderful place where every aspect can be shown, such as the production, backstage and through these steps, the respect of the brands for the environment. In an interconnected world where everything is on the internet, the brands need to be transparent and honest toward their public or expose themself to be canceled, by the public opinion.

To illustrate a great communication and commitment to reduce the environment footprint, we can evoke the genius brand Ganni. Indeed, the brand communicates regularly on its social media through a special instagram account, Ganni Lab, about their actions in favor of the environment and provides an annual report about their activity and goals. By doing all this communication their customers have precise data and can purchase in Ganni without feeling misinformed or mistaken. Their followers increased as their sales because they embody the values of customers.

You can learn more about their involvement on their report for 2021: https://responsibilityreport2021.ganni.com/design-goals/

Stella McCartey is also a model of commitment to the environmental cause in the luxury segment. On their website, you have access to 4 sections which help you to understand their activity; “Circularity”, “Commitment”, “Social Sustainability” and “Measuring our impact”. Their instagram is a showcase for the brand's activities and values, their communication is easily accessible and transparent to the public. The creator created the surprise, by her new bag collection made from mushrooms, it tooks 4 years of research to create. The brand benefits from the image of honesty and modernity which contribute to the relation of trust and loyalty with the customers. By entering in the circular economy and building a true green brand these firms anticipate the future law and regulation from the European Union or the countries.

As you’ve probably understood by now,  the communication around the green initiative is crucial and can have a huge impact on your brand-love. That’s why we wanted to give you 5 key points to help your brand find the balance between greenhushing and greenwashing:

  1. Your  brand can provide annual reports about its activity, the measure of its footprint, and the goals they want to achieve in the future..
  2. It is important to communicate regularly on your social media to be close to your community. This will create trust with your consumers, and provides the perfect channel to show behind-the-scenes footage, and share your brand's values.  
  3. Be accurate in your communication. Avoid inundating your consumers with too much information. The precision on the labels of the quality, renewable rate could be the type of information which motivates the purchase.
  4. Creating partnerships with foundations that strive for a circular economy or green activities is always a great way for brands to support and to prove their involvement, toward the public.