3 trends in sustainability you need to know about right now
No hush hush!
With the term ‘greenwashing’ now in companies’ lexicons, the next label to get familiar with is ‘greenhushing’. And just like greenwashing – this is not something you want your company or brand to be associated with. ‘Greenhushing’ is when companies purposely keep quiet about their sustainability goals, even if they are well-intentioned or credible, for fear of being labelled greenwashers.
So, what’s wrong with staying quiet about your climate strategy? Well, not speaking about your green ambitions can reduce general awareness in society, which is bad news for sustainable development. But greenhushing can also be costly. Investors want to put their money in sustainable businesses and need to be sure that their investment is based on accurate facts and information. On top of that, a growing number of conscious consumers are looking for brands that can prove their green credentials.
Greenhushing can also deter future employees since many people now want their personal values to match a company’s when the apply for a job. Hopefully, new EU directives will make greenhushing trickier! Read more about what impact CSRD might have onsustainability communication.
Bring in Gen Z!
Speaking about future employees, according to the Swedish survey Ungdomsbarometern 2023, Generation Z is seeking security to a higher extent than Millennials. This can be seen in work life and in application processes, as well as in how they control content declarations, compare prices as well as climate footprints. 45 per cent of respondents in the survey are worried about society’s future – but at the same time, Generation Z has more belief in their own ability to influence society. Maybe that clash is something that modern companies should dig into?
A company that sees Gen Z as an asset when it comes to the brand’s approach to sustainability is sportswear company Puma. To meet their growing expectations when it comes to sustainability, transparence, and communication, Puma has created a focus group with four hand-picked, independently minded young representatives. The idea is that for one year, the quartet will give their views on Puma’s sustainability strategy as well as their recommendations for a future way forward. The initiative has been dubbed ‘The Voices of a Re:Generation’.
Is it real?
One of the trends among Gen Z spotted in Ungdomsbarometern is called “Be real”. The term comes from the image sharing app BeReal, which gives users an unfiltered glimpse into their friends’ daily lives, and is mentioned as one example of Gen Z craving authenticity and realness. In 2022, a third of Swedes between the ages of 15 and 24 had downloaded the app. This trend towards reality is also seen in sustainability communications, where openness, honesty and authenticity are all key factors to becoming a trust-worthy brand.
So, Puma’s move with a Gen Z panel is most likely a very clever one. Alice Aedy, a prize-winning young documentary director and photojournalist who’s intensely passionate about communicating stories around climate and social justice, is one of the panel’s young experts. She is also founder of the digital content platform Earthrise, which is dedicated to humanising the impact of the climate crisis by sharing stories and real individuals living amongst it.
Hopefully, more companies will follow Puma and give real people the power of impact.
Jessica Johansson, Content Director, Spoon