What is green hushing?

green hushing

According to a recent survey by Sensu Insight, less than one-quarter of British shoppers take sustainability claims by businesses at face value, questioning the authenticity of their sustainability practices. Most of these individuals believe businesses are not doing enough to verify the claims. It’s understandable with a lot of greenwashing on the rise. But with greenwashing, there is another controversial practice you should be aware of, green hushing and its many risks. Green hushing refers to when a business adopts a radio-silence approach to environmental goals. A lot of businesses do it, and most of the time it is out of ignorance. 

However, some know exactly what they are doing and will not acknowledge it openly. Continue reading to learn more about green hushing and what this could mean for businesses and customer trust. 

About green hushing and how it is intertwined with greenwashing

Green hushing refers to when a business takes steps to remain silent about its climate plans. They do this through either refusal or avoidance. If a person requests information about their climate goals, they usually decline to answer. Similarly, if no questions surrounding their climate efforts surface, they do not take any action.

Why do businesses engage in green hushing? One reason is that they do not want to be held accountable if they fall short of their commitments. There is a lot of pressure that comes with making the green transition. However, it’s clear when it comes to environmental sustainability; transparency wins all out. 

The second reason some businesses may engage in green hushing is that they do not want to be called out for greenwashing. The practice was initially coined in the late 2000s, however, it has been able to lie under the surface more than greenwashing which has become a familiar deceitful practice. 

The terms are so similar you may be wondering if they are related at all. There definitely is a connection between the two practices. For instance, green hushing is generally used to avoid being held accountable for greenwashing. Similarly, some people argue that green hushing is an example of greenwashing. 

Their reasons are that these businesses have no public benchmark even though they are claiming to be taking action to help the planet. What both greenwashing and green hushing have in common are fear and anxiety. Businesses that green hush believe there are many risks and little value in being transparent and open concerning their climate objectives.

Green botching, another term gaining traction, occurs when well-intentioned environmental efforts misfire, contrasting with green hushing’s silence on climate plans. It involves initiatives like recyclable pizza boxes or electric vehicles that, due to poor execution or lack of infrastructure, end up causing unintended negative impacts. This highlights the challenges in sustainable practices, emphasizing the importance of careful implementation to avoid counterproductive outcomes.

Summary – What are the risks associated with green hushing?

When looking at the practice of green hushing, you must remember it is quite a simple chain. In other words, green hushing can place businesses at odds with their ESG (environmental, social, and governance) targets. These ESG goals are often partly encouraged by stakeholders and investors. 

Therefore, by engaging in green hushing, you risk putting companies at odds with their stakeholders. It is essential that businesses, big and small, understand the concept of green hushing thoroughly. In addition, they create climate strategies that are entirely transparent and clear about the actions they are taking to bring about a thriving planet.

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