Home Cleaning & Maintenance Unveiling Greenhushing: Uncovering the Truth Behind Recent Sustainability Silence

Unveiling Greenhushing: Uncovering the Truth Behind Recent Sustainability Silence

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Joshua Schwartz

In the dynamic landscape of facility management, one principle stands as an unwavering cornerstone: sustainability. Far more than just a buzzword, sustainability has become an indispensable guiding principle for facility managers tasked with optimizing operations, minimizing environmental impact, and futureproofing their facilities.

At the heart of sustainability lies a fundamental commitment to environmental stewardship. Facility managers play a pivotal role in minimizing resource consumption, reducing waste generation, and mitigating environmental impact. By implementing energy-efficient systems, adopting eco-friendly practices, and embracing renewable technologies, facility managers can contribute to the preservation of our planet for future generations.

Over the past thirty years, corporations really started to tout their sustainability initiatives. This was done to align with consumer preferences, enhance brand reputation, mitigate risks, achieve cost savings, attract investors, and comply with regulatory requirements.

Companies understood that demonstrating a commitment to environmental and social responsibility could bolster trust with stakeholders, including customers, investors, employees, and communities. By showcasing their sustainability efforts, they sought to enhance their brand image and build long-term loyalty.

Sustainability had become a strategic imperative for businesses that sought to thrive in a rapidly changing market landscape, driving the widespread adoption and promotion of sustainability initiatives across industries.

However, there’s a concerning trend emerging—one that operates in the shadows, shrouded in silence and ambiguity. It’s called greenhushing, and it’s undermining the progress of environmental efforts in corporate sustainability.

Understanding Greenhushing

Greenhushing, a term coined to describe the deliberate silence or vagueness surrounding corporate sustainability efforts, has become a prevalent strategy among businesses seeking to project an image of environmental responsibility without fully committing to tangible action. This phenomenon manifests in various forms, from vague statements of commitment to sustainability to a reluctance to disclose specific initiatives or progress.

Avoiding Vague Sustainable Commitments

To avoid falling into the trap of greenhushing, companies must prioritize clarity and transparency in their sustainability commitments. Instead of vague promises or greenwashing tactics, businesses should set measurable goals, establish clear timelines for implementation, and regularly report on progress. By holding themselves accountable and engaging stakeholders in the process, companies can build trust and credibility in their sustainability efforts.

While individual initiatives are commendable, companies must also consider the bigger picture of their environmental footprint. This means assessing the entire lifecycle of their operations, from sourcing and production to distribution and disposal. By adopting a holistic approach to sustainability, businesses can identify areas for improvement and implement strategies to minimize their environmental impact across the board.

Increasing Transparency to Attract Target Audience Faster

In today’s increasingly eco-conscious marketplace, transparency is key to attracting and retaining customers who prioritize sustainability. Companies that openly communicate their sustainability efforts and achievements not only build trust with consumers but also differentiate themselves from competitors. By increasing transparency around sustainability initiatives, businesses can attract their target audience faster and foster long-term loyalty.

An effective messaging strategy is often a simple one—be honest about the benefits that your company’s sustainable solutions can provide. For example, at Viking Pure Solutions, we help our partners provide safe and sanitary environments by replacing traditional (often toxic) cleaners with our solutions that leverage electrolyzed water technology.

Electrolyzed water, also known as electrolyzed oxidizing water (EOW) is created by passing an electric current through a saltwater solution. This process separates the water into two components: an alkaline cleaning solution (sodium hydroxide) and an acidic disinfecting solution (hypochlorous acid), both of which possess potent properties and are versatile for a variety of surfaces and applications.

Conventional cleaning products often contain harsh chemicals that can harm the environment and contribute to pollution. Among other benefits, Electrolyzed water is produced using only water, salt, and electricity, making it a sustainable and eco-friendly choice for environmentally conscious consumers and businesses. It’s healthier for folks to be around and it doesn’t pollute the surrounding environment or water supply. That’s an easy message to communicate—sometimes simplicity is the most effective way to go.

The Silence Surrounding Sustainability

So, why have companies gotten much quieter about their sustainability efforts? The answer lies in a combination of factors, including fear of greenwashing accusations, uncertainty about where to start, and a lack of accountability mechanisms. Additionally, some businesses may perceive sustainability as a cost rather than an opportunity, leading them to downplay their efforts or remain silent altogether.

As we confront the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation, silence is not an option. It’s time for companies to break free from the grip of greenhushing and embrace a new era of transparency, accountability, and action. By openly committing to sustainability, addressing their environmental footprint, and engaging stakeholders in the journey, businesses can become true leaders in sustainable facility management and drive positive change for our planet and future generations.

In the fight against greenhushing, transparency is our most powerful weapon. By shedding light on corporate sustainability efforts, holding businesses accountable for their actions, and demanding greater transparency, we can build a more sustainable future for all. Let’s break the silence and speak up for the planet, one transparent commitment at a time.

About the Author

Joshua Schwartz is the President and a Co-Founder of Viking Pure Solutions, a sustainable cleaning innovation company that is changing the way facilities clean and disinfect with non-toxic, on-demand solutions that are better for people and the environment. With a career spanning diverse industries such as medical real estate, healthcare, finance, and supportive housing, Joshua has made it his mission to identify societal needs and develop innovative solutions that are cost-effective and beneficial to those involved. Prior to Viking Pure, Joshua was the President of an Article 28 Diagnostic and Treatment Center. He began his career in the financial industry, first in investment banking at Citigroup and then at private equity firm Apollo Management. Joshua graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale College with a B.A. in Economics with Distinction, and holds a master’s from New York University, where he graduated with Honors.

1 COMMENT

  1. Many good points in this article by Joshua Schwartz. As a sustainability strategist, I often instruct my customers to remain clear and transparent with their marketing outreach. In some cases, this means saying nothing versus anything unverifiable. Most companies sincerely want to embrace sustainability, but the maze of standards and certifications can be impossible to follow. The countless competing certifications have proven to be too burdensome for small to midsize manufacturers. Without a team of specialists, it is an unnecessary challenge. Start with a measurable action plan and keep it simple, keep it truthful, and keep it going.

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