Here at Greenstep, we like to walk the walk when it comes to truly sustainable initiatives…but we also like to help businesses, nonprofits, and governments walk their own, authentic path as they transition to the green economy. By offering consulting services, training, certifications, and carbon software, we directly help businesses implement and track deep green initiatives, while providing gentle but firm kicks in the butt to keep you moving along the path to sustainability.
A surprising fact is that most businesses are only communicating 30% of all of their sustainability related activities (known as “greenhushing”). Many others are “greenwashing,” or exaggerating their sustainability achievements. What’s the difference, why is it important…and why greenstep around all the madness?
Greenwashing is, at this point, a fairly recognizable term and something your business does not want to be accused of. So let’s just decide here and now: no more greenwashing. Greenhushing is a bit more nuanced, as it refers to businesses who purposefully under-report sustainability practices. Say what? Why would a business under report something like their sustainability practices, in a world full of instant news and Snapchat, where it is becoming increasingly important to be fully transparent and accountable?
After talking to thousands of businesses over the past several years, we know that the number one reason business owners pursue sustainability is because of the marketing and cost-saving benefits. Unfortunately, many of these same businesses that are implementing green practices, and even some that have achieved certification toward these goals, are guilty of this phenomenon of “greenhushing.” Co-authors Xavier Font, Islam Elgammal & Ian Lamond recently suggested in an article published in The Journal of Sustainable Tourism, that this is due to a conscious effort by tourism operators to limit how much they are sharing and how they are sharing it. This is done to prevent a perceived disconnection that they believe exists between their own sustainability values or practices, and their customers, thereby mitigating a potential disconnection between what they think their customers want and their own views on sustainability. Talk about analysis paralysis. Is your head spinning too?
We can’t always align with everyone, and as businesses, we shouldn’t have to hold back on shouting to the rafters about our awesome sustainability practices. This isn’t bragging, it’s inspiring…and the business world needs a whole lot of sustainability inspiration right now.
Luckily, we know there is a better way: committing to sustainable actions, tracking progress, and being fully transparent about the process with your stakeholders. That’s why we originally chose the name GreenStep. We help businesses move in the right direction, one green step at a time.
Portions of this article originally appeared on one of our other sites, Green Tourism Canada. https://www.greentourismcanada.ca/two-things-your-tourism-business-should-never-do/