You need to run a sustainable business to build trust
An article from The Guardian reinforced my post from a while back called “Don’t create a ‘sustainable brand’, create a sustainable company” about how as a business or company you must be authentic in your branding of sustainable. That you must create a sustainable business before you sell a sustainable brand.
The Guardian article concludes – “What a wonderfully simple irony: companies need to be geared up and running sustainable businesses before they can expect consumers to believe that they are sustainable.”
Much more articulately written than mine but we are on the same page.
The thrust of the article from The Guardian is spot on, it centres around “Trust, not green marketing, is key to driving sustainable consumption.” Absolutely, how can I know that your products or services are sustainable if I can’t trust your message.
If you want to be a sustainable company or offer sustainable services or products you must operate with integrity, you must not only do what you say you are going to do but you must also do what you ask others to do. The main reason we became the world’s first One Planet consultant endorsed by Bio-Regional was – how could we operate as an authentic business if we were asking our clients to go the extra mile for sustainable reasons if we weren’t willing to do so ourselves. But even after becoming the worlds first One Planet consultant I believe we still can’t call ourselves a sustainable company – we can say we are measuring our sustainability through a very rigorous and transparent system but we can’t say we are a sustainable company.
Next time someone offers you ‘sustainable service’ or ‘sustainable product’ or anything with the word ‘sustainable’ or ‘eco’ or ‘green’ in front of it ask them how they measure, transparently display and report on their own sustainability.
Again The Guardian article articulates it better than I have.
“Corporations should stop worrying about the message and focus on mainstreaming sustainability through their business and suppliers, while being totally open about the progress, successes and failures. In a world that increasingly demands instant communications, open data and total transparency, this is the closest one can get to guaranteeing a positive foundation for convincing consumers that sustainable consumption is not one big fib.”
Start with defining what a sustainable business is, measure against it, publicly report on it, improve on it and then your message will (should) be trusted.