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GREENHUSHING OR THE ART OF KEEPING QUIET

Fashion, the second most polluting industry in the world after energy, continues to develop between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and constant innovation. But beware of the “greenwashing” that we all know and which has been highlighted for several years as sometimes being abused, especially for marketing purposes. In 2022 and after an overheated summer, it is time to dig deeper and understand a new trend called “Greenhushing.” 

Greenhushing consists of ignoring the sustainability efforts made by companies and goes against the grain of greenwashing. This trend is part of an honesty approach where brands will not display their efforts in the public square or even completely ignore them. 

© Anna Shvets

However, many labels are flourishing on the labels: Oeko-Tex, vegan, recycled or organic fabrics. But this is not enough for some associations that sometimes denounce the abuse of arguments or underline vague promises as, last September in the United Kingdom, with the brand of laundry detergent Persil, proposing an advertisement that was forbidden from broadcast by the British authority for its unclear environmental message. 

We, the consumers, are looking for transparency from companies, whether it is on the level of the communication or on the labels of products in order to be able to find our way in this nebula of explanations, efforts and messages.

© Louis-Maniquet

For example, the internationally known brand Pantagonia, led by Yvon Chouinard, who recently decided to bequeath his empire to a trust and an environmental NGO, had declared in an open letter that it does not use the word “sustainable” in its communication because the team knows that fashion is part of the climate problem and it also avoids being pinned for opportunism when we know that the production is done abroad, in common with most companies in all sectors combined 

The fashion sector is not the only one to be analyzed by consumers and organizations. There are also hotel groups, transportation, everyday products, and food. 

© Mart Production

But we must remember that sustainability is also timelessness with an approach that will make consumers aware of keeping pieces and appliances longer than those of Fast Fashion for fashion, programmed obsolescence for technology, or the abuse of plastic in distribution and in hotel rooms with soap bottles. 

There is a real issue of the future that is emerging on the environmental responsibility of companies. 

Jean De La Fontaine wrote in his fable “The bear and the garden lover”: “It is good to talk and better to keep quiet … But both are bad while they are outraged.” Emphasizing here a happy medium to be found in corporate communication, to not overdo it while sharing the sustainable efforts made. 

Thomas Durin

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