Updated: 26/09/23

You’ve heard of greenwashing, but businesses are increasingly concerned about another challenge – green hushing - a term for the growing number of firms who are unwilling to publicise their net zero targets. 

Why are firms green hushing? 

Sustainable growth and meaningful environmental policies are essential for businesses. More and more firms are being called out for greenwashing, a word used to describe unsubstantiated claims which are designed to create the illusion of sustainability. For example, an oil company launching a tree planting campaign after a major oil spill is greenwashing.  

What does green hushing mean?  

Greater public awareness surrounding environmental issues is making it far more complicated for organisations to make unfounded claims about their sustainability targets and achievements, the consequence of this is that a growing number of businesses are opting for silence when it comes to their environmental goals to avoid scrutiny. This is green hushing. 

South Pole conducted a survey on 1,200 large corporations across 12 countries; all of which had net zero targets. Of those surveyed, over two thirds identify as “heavy emitters” and, although the majority claim to have set science-based climate targets, 23 per cent do not plan on publicising them.  
This unwillingness to publicise climate targets is undoubtedly borne from fear. Quite simply, if a company publishes insufficient targets with little supporting evidence as to how they’ll actively achieve them, they will face criticism and be expected to readdress their environmental policies. 

How do I avoid green hushing? 

Avoid green hushing by developing a meaningful and achievable environmental policy that your entire organisation can commit to. Understand what your climate targets mean, and how you can effectively reach them. 
Green Economy offers tailored business support and advice to companies on green communications. 

Get in touch if you need support and advice on your journey to net zero. 

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Vicky Wilding

Senior business advisor

Vicky manages a team of advisors, delivering award-winning sector support for the Green Economy team. She has over 10 years' experience supporting businesses across the low carbon and environmental goods and services (LCEGS) sector and has an esoteric understanding of barriers to growth, offering reactive advice about the challenges facing the green sector.  
With a combined Master’s degree in Town and Country planning with Landscape Planning Management, Vicky understands that places need to be developed in a sustainable way that is inclusive of entire communities.  
Vicky is part of the Green Economy team because she wants to build client relationships and continue her involvement in a transformative sector that progresses social and environmental goals for future generations.