Greenhushing: The Hidden Trend in Sustainable Practices That's Threatening Progress

Greenhushing: The Hidden Trend in Sustainable Practices That's Threatening Progress

Sustainable practices are becoming more and more important for companies worldwide. But with the rise of lawsuits over greenwashing and the integrity of sustainability frameworks being questioned, some businesses are now choosing to hide their climate practices to avoid being judged. This new trend is called Greenhushing and it is the opposite of Greenwashing.

What is Greenhushing?

What is Greenhushing? | El Green Mall

Greenhushing is a defensive tactic used by companies to avoid damaging their reputation. Instead of making false claims about being eco-friendly to make money off the growing interest in conscious clothing, these companies are trying hard to hide their climate actions and goals. The term "Greenhushing" was coined by the consulting company Tree Hugger, which noticed that many of the businesses they met with were reluctant to discuss their efforts to be more environmentally friendly.

Is Greenhushing harmful?

While it may seem harmless, Greenhushing has serious consequences. When a brand is open about its ethics, it creates high standards and educates customers on sustainable practices. If prominent brands make sustainable changes, other brands are encouraged to follow. However, if individuals or companies are afraid to share their sustainable practices, perhaps the conversation is not being conducted in the right way. We must be strong when demanding sustainable practices from companies, but we must be careful not to fall into extremism.

Changing the system takes time, and although we are up against the clock, we must not lose empathy. Two decades ago, sustainability was not so deeply rooted in our society. If companies stop speaking publicly, it will be a setback for progress. When companies talk openly, more collaborations will be achieved, which might lead to new developments.

Is Greenhushing on the rise?

Is Greenhushing on the rise? | El Green Mall

In October 2022, South Pole released a report stating that some companies in the tech, finance, and engineering sectors do not want to discuss their environmental policy successes or achievements. The report found that almost one-quarter of the 1,200 large private companies from 12 countries surveyed have set gross goals but have yet to share their improvement. Greenhushing is happening even though most companies are spending more money to fulfill their climate responsibilities. Almost three-quarters of the businesses surveyed are investing more, not less, to reach their goals.

It is important for brands to talk about their ethics and activities to raise the standard of what it means to be a sustainable company. Although the clock is ticking and climate change requires immediate action, it is important to have compassion and empathy. Extremism only drives people away. So, let's speak up, let's speak loud, and let's speak a lot!

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