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From greenwashing to greenhushing: the new business trend under scrutiny

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The term greenwashing, or greenwashing (defined here by Now you Know as “ a marketing method which consists of a company directing its actions and its communication towards of the public towards an ecological positioning ») has long been part of the activist vocabulary. On the other hand, that of greenhushing is rather new. The word is still not particularly rewarding, and designates the voluntary reduction of communication around environmental commitments on the part of companies. A trend that could almost be considered a logical evolution of greenwashing. Indeed, the legal context is becoming more and more restrictive for businesses, and civil society is paying more and more attention to the subject of ecology. According to this article from Échos, the consequences are already quite significant.

From greenwashing to ecosilence: a paradigm shift

At the’ global scale, legislative frameworks are tightening, and there is no longer any question of private companies acting as if they were the sole masters on board. For example, the Climate and Resilience law in France has prohibited since January 1, 2023, false advertising and other environmental claims that are not backed up by concrete evidence.

This regulation was a small kick in the great anthill of green marketing. Other similar initiatives followed, in Europe and California. The desire behind these new legislative frameworks is laudable: give credibility to the ecological commitments of companies and penalize those who use environmental considerations as a marketing element.

However, the consequences were not those expected. Indeed, this new context tends to encourage companies to silence, who no longer communicate on their environmental commitments. Business owners may take sustainable approaches to improve their integrity. For instance, they can apply Durable Shop Front Coatings to improve the energy efficiency of their shop as well its exterior appeal.

The impact of greenhushing on the economic and environmental landscape

< p>This trend has therefore spread widely, across all sectors of activity; even the most virtuous companies are no exception to the rule. According to the report from the South Pole firm (downloadable from this site), the consequences are already quite significant. The survey concerned 1 400 companies.

Of these, 86 % of the goods sales sector confessed communicate less about their ecological commitments. For oil companies, the rate is lower, but still amounts to 72%. Even companies that offer environmental services are concerned, at 88%, even though 93% respect their commitments to the environment.< /p>

Practice highlights a very strong contradiction: while the climate objectives today are of a central importance, companies no longer communicate their efforts, fearing legal repercussions. In certain cases, certain companies (among the most polluting) “ have started to lower their ambitions ” can we read in the article of Échos.

L’article takes the example of BP which “announced that it would not reduce its carbon footprint from 35% to 40% by 2030“. The objective subsequently dropped back to around 20-30%. For Amazon, which had indicated to increase the share of its “zero carbon” deliveries to 50% in 2030, it’s the same refrain. The American firm has postponed its commitment to 2040.

All these figures are more than what we really see, since’ a huge portion of societies have simply remained silent about their ecological commitments.

Towards a future masked by greenhushing ?

In the short term, the impacts of this non-communication are already quite visible, but in the long term, the consequences could be even more significant. The risk of seeing public pressure diminishon companies with the aim of acting against climate change is real.

If environmental regulations multiply, which seems to be the most plausible scenario , everything suggests that companies could opt more for discretion. As the article in Échos says, “ it seems essential that companies appropriate them in the philosophy of laws. That is to say, for the purposes of improving the ecological performance of their products and services and not to stop communicating about them » .

Indeed, if legal frameworks are developed in this direction, it is not to set a favorable scene for advertisers. A setting that would allow them to further establish the marketing power of the companies for which they work. The climate emergency is real, and is not a story around which to knit a narrative to sell or make more money.

Greenhushing proves to us one more thing: the road is still long, very long, to make companies understand that they must adapt. On the other hand, a business, by definition, exists to grow. Is there really a development that takes place in full awareness of the ecological challenges of our time ? If even the legal frameworks fail to force the private sector to comply with these demands, what lever can we use? remains to be activated ?

  • Greenhushing is a new trend in the private sector, designating the propensity of companies to no longer communicate about their environmental commitments.
  • Its impact on the economic and environmental fabric is already visible, with all sectors of activity being affected.
  • In the future, this trend could further worsen and worsen standardize as environmental regulations tighten.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116