Firms’ lack of confidence over sustainability credentials leads to ‘greenhushing’

The fear of being accused of greenwashing is leading to “greenhushing”, according to Nico Nicholas, chief executive and co-founder of offsetting firm Trees4Travel.

Speaking on a panel on greenwashing and how to avoid it, organised by the Global Travel & Tourism Resilience Council at this year’s Global Travel Marketplace, Nicholas (pictured right) encouraged delegates to “be honest” about the sustainability practices they implement and to continue to update terminology to accurately reflect their work.

He warned of the problems of greenwashing, where companies mislead consumers about the environmental benefits of a product, but urged delegates to continue to talk about their sustainability efforts and not be afraid of being called out for their mistakes.

More: Greenwashing firms ‘damage cruise sector’ and will ‘disappear’, warns Hurtigruten chief

He described firms who stay silent on the topic for fear of being called out as falling prey to “greenhushing”.

“Nowadays, people don’t fully understand what greenwashing is and often people accidentally fall into traps, are pulled up by advertising authorities and get caught out,” he said.

“The problem with that is a lot of people are so fearful that someone will call them out for greenwashing that they don’t talk about their sustainability policies, even when they are doing the right thing.

“Like greenwashing, greenhushing is a massive issue foe the travel industry because it means we are taking a step backwards rather than forwards. We need people and companies to talk about the work they are doing as by keeping silent we don’t make any progress.”

Trees4Travel’s programmes aim to reduce travellers’ carbon footprint through tree planting in reforestation projects which support communities around the world.

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