Hello! Have you ever heard of greenwashing?
That’s today’s topic, and I’m happy to share with you 3 ways to promote your business without greenwashing!
My name is Sara, I am a tourism consultant, and on this site, I talk about tourism, sustainability, theory and practices to become a more sustainable operator.
The ways I want to talk to you about today are:
- Precise communication
- Scientific references
- Criteria or certification.
I’m passionate about sustainability, so I often observe and reflect on how various activities manifest themselves as green, sustainable, responsible, green without in any way showing justification for what they are saying.
This is part of the reason why I am sharing these thoughts with you today, and knowing how difficult it can be to create or develop a business in a sustainable way, I can’t resist giving you some tools to assess the veracity of the information shared by so many.
Let’s start with the definition of greenwashing.
Greenwashing is a neologism created to define behaviour or activities that make people believe that a company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is.
I like to call it in a more artistic way colata di verde.
According to The Cambridge Dictionary, we can define greenwashing as “behaviour or activities that make people believe that a company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is”.
You may have noticed how the colour green has taken hold in marketing at all levels for some years now. In some ways, I think that has gone too far. At least to those in the industry, it is now obvious that using the colour green can no longer be useful when talking about sustainability.
We should by now resign ourselves that green should be considered as such and no longer symbolically positive and representative of green practices.
The communication that every business should carry out should aim to go beyond the first impression. It should be precise, contain all the appropriate references, and link to our sustainability objectives (be they large or small).
Our online presence should show our work in progress of a wider journey and individual actions, events, and results. We should try to be more real and authentic by showing the reality and commitment hidden behind a nice, perfect sustainability report published on our website.
In short, we should be honest and share more details about our experience.
For example, if we cannot develop our sustainability journey in all areas simultaneously, we should not leave vague information about what hasn’t been done but focus on what we are working on.
To understand, at Hotel Loveno, my hotel, I can only dedicate myself to a few aspects of sustainability at a time, this year We have four objectives that we are trying to achieve, and we have only defined the first: to have a sustainability policy written in ITA and ENG by April.
In addition to this, I can share what has been done, specifying why I include it in the list.
Some initiatives supported or chosen for our activity regardless of whether they are shared require us to use solid and reliable scientific references for the choice, in particular when it comes to initiatives in the field of ecologies such as adopting an energy supplier, working with a rental or transfer business, or deciding to sponsor an event or concert.
The more we can inform ourselves, for example, by drawing on scientific journals or university material from our own institute of reference, the better knowledge we will acquire and the more informed the choices we will make. An example The DISAT Department of Environmental and Earth Sciences of the Bicocca University of Milan.
Furthermore, in our communication, we can specify all our commitment and the scientific references used.
Last but not least, use international certifications as a reference.
Criteria for obtaining basic levels of national and other certifications are freely available and often easy to find.
Using these criteria and sharing this process when we decide to go public will allow us to gain credibility and trust from our target audience. This trust will not be placed in the certifications but in our honest, specific process, proven by solid scientific references and “inspired” by criteria with international validity.
We want to show this way that we do everything necessary to make the information we provide to our potential guests, readers or followers simple and guaranteed.
Certainly, this is a challenging method, but if our activity is truly sustainability-oriented, it deserves the best possible way of being promoted and known by all.
What do you think about these methods? Do you use one or more of them? Do you use others with good feedback?
Please let me know. Leave a comment here. I look forward to hearing from you and starting our conversation.
Sara – tourism sector consultant