Why is sustainability communication without the risk of been caught red handed of greenwashing actually quite simple?


In simple terms, sustainability communication is a form of marketing communication that involves attributes considered “green.”

Some manufacturers or retailers can genuinely claim green product attributes, like being free from microplastics or toxins. However, others do not have any such attributes.

Some companies that possess green attributes choose not to highlight them (commonly known as “Green-Hushing”), while some that lack them claim they do (commonly known as “Green-Washing”).

No one wants to be exposed as a green-washer. But what if your sincere efforts to make the world a better place are undermined tomorrow by an overly critical person, and you end up being labeled a corporate villain in the court of social opinion? This fear is not unfounded, which is likely a reason behind the phenomenon of Green-Hushing.

Fortunately, there is a simple strategy to avoid this. It has three components, and you can implement it with us at any time, without extensive preparation.

Here’s the best part:

It works immediately and can be started at once. Everything from yesterday becomes irrelevant, as does the distant future. Authenticity in the present is key!

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Understand your target audience.
  2. Use the global mega-trend of circularity as a guiding principle.
  3. Develop a strategy and engage in effective content marketing.

Step 1: Understand Your Target Audience

If you’re a brand or aiming to become one, the most important thing to understand is that the strength of a brand comes not just from the affinity of its message recipients, but also from a high level of trust.

Additionally, you should know that your target audiences are not foolish. They look beyond the surface. But they don’t just evaluate with their minds; they also use their hearts. A single lie, and you could be permanently removed from the “relevant set” of brands someone might consider.

This means you have a great opportunity to communicate your journey toward sustainability (whatever that might mean to you) in a truly authentic way, focusing on the present moment. This approach could gradually build a brand that deserves the “green” label, either as a core aspect of your identity or as part of a mix of attributes you choose to incorporate into your brand.

Step 2: Use the Global Mega-Trend of Circularity as a Guiding Principle

Nobody can currently define what sustainability truly means. Some people focus on social elements like supply chains and fair wages, while others are concerned with biodiversity, microplastics, oceanic garbage patches, climate-damaging emissions, or deforestation. The scope seems limitless.

The good news is that, as a business, you have complete freedom to set your priorities and choose your path. You just have to do it.

To guide you, there’s a globally accepted framework: the Circular Economy. This concept underpins parts of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the EU’s Green Deal. Tens of thousands of products are already created based on this principle. The world’s major corporations are committing to it, even with dedicated Circular Economy funds from BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager. Countries like the Netherlands are far ahead, with global initiatives like Circular Cities, heavily supported by the EU. Much of this hasn’t fully reached Germany yet.

But that doesn’t change the fact that this global mega-trend is attractive and secure for entrepreneurs. That’s what we’re focusing on today.

And no, this isn’t about introducing a new economic system. It’s about thinking circularly and taking action wherever you can. When you do that, no one can accuse you of deception or dishonesty.

What does circular action look like? Here are some examples. You can find more details and our 12-point charter for circular entrepreneurship on our website:

  • Refurbishment and reconditioning of products.
  • Return models, like buy-back discounts.
  • Second use or second-hand options.
  • Sharing or rental models.
  • Product design focused on future waste avoidance.
  • Collaboration with others to optimize raw material reuse during product design or after returns.
  • Recycling.

Step 3: Develop a Strategy and Engage in Effective Content Marketing

All of this must be formulated with a clear understanding of your company’s current status, future prospects, transformation processes, and the business environment in which you operate. This is where we come in.

We are here to support you and meet you exactly where you are.

Together, we will analyze your industry specifics, your supply and sales markets—whether B2B, B2C, or B2G—your offline/online/marketplace sales channels, your products, services, and solutions, as well as your pipeline. We will work with you to develop your marketing goals and communication strategy within the context of your ongoing business and even during active change processes. This approach is agile and managed through simple facilitation processes, designed to alleviate, not burden, you.

We help you stay on course. If you want, we’ll involve your entire team—even the ones that don’t exist yet: employer branding is not just about employers; it’s about the brand too 😉

Let´s talk about it.

Learn more on https://www.nice-network.de/en/.

Circular economy to reduce waste by reusing, repairing, recycling products and materials. Ecology, nature preservation, sustainable development and green business concept. Hand turning knob.


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