Green Hushing: 4 brands coming clean on going green.

Ahead of our upcoming webinar, WTF is Green Hushing?, take a look at 4 brands travelling the sustainable road in style.

by Ben May | Environmental | 28 May 2024

Last month we opened up about Green Hushing – the latest development in sustainability communications across the green industry. If you missed the article, catch up here

Following on, and in the spirit of championing those who are communicating environmental sustainability with honesty and pride, we’re taking a look at five brands who are telling it the way it is. 

Whether it’s holding your hands in the air when things don’t go right, admitting there’s still work to be done, or just being realistic about what sustainability means to you as a brand, good honest comms are always better than Green Hushing. 

TONY’S CHOCOLONELY 

The boldest brand in the chocolate market faced criticism recently after it announced new stock listings with Walmart, in the US. Comments on the brand’s LinkedIn announcement criticised the move, as Walmart isn’t known for its environmental or ethical responsibility. 

Tony’s response, however, was perfect. Rather than shying away or apologising, the brand faced the criticism and explained why the partnership was the right move for the business:

“Tony’s is dedicated to end exploitation in the cocoa industry together. We really want to change the norm in the industry. It’s a big job to do, and we can’t do it alone. In order to change the industry as a whole, we need to lead by example and prove that it’s possible to make sustainable change. We also need to make sure that better chocolate alternatives are available far and wide so that everyone has the choice to join us in our mission. Big retailers, Walmart included, help us reach folks in areas we wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach, and in doing so help us pay more cocoa farmers a higher price that enables a living income, that improves their livelihoods and ends child labor.” LinkedIn

Speaking openly about the brand’s progress is engrained. Every year, Tony’s produces its Annual FAIR Report, which looks at exploitation and deforestation across the entire chocolate industry. Within it, Tony’s accepts not being perfect, acknowledging that the mission is huge: 

“The truth is, the cocoa sector today is still full of human rights violations and environmental issues.”

“At Tony’s, we envision a world where producing, selling and buying chocolate bars doesn’t equal exploitation in cocoa. Where cocoa farmers earn a living income in a sector free from illegal labor and deforestation. We aim to break the cycle by addressing the root causes.” Tony’s

GANNI

Last month, B Corp-certified fashion brand, Ganni, took an honest look at what it means to be sustainable, and how far brands can legitimately push the answer. Ganni’s Material Innovation Lead, Julie Verdich stated: 

“We don’t identify as a sustainable brand, because at its core fashion thrives on newness and consumption, which is a major contradiction to the concept of sustainability” 

“Instead, we are, and always have been, focused on becoming the most responsible version of ourselves. We’re not perfect but committed to making better choices every day, minimizing our social and environmental impact across the entire business.” FutureVvold

This honest account of the brand’s journey, calling out the nature of the fashion industry, including itself, is refreshing. It highlights the quiet confidence of a brand that’s entirely focused on its mission, and isn’t afraid to talk about the highs and the lows.  

This confidence is reflected in the collaborations Ganni designs with other brands. On the face of it, some of the collabs might not seem like a good match, such as New Balance and Dr. Martens. What’s clear, however, is that these aren’t vanity projects or a simple dual branding tactic – the products resulting from partnerships with Ganni are sustainable. By questioning the norm, Ganni leads its partners down a better path, improving standards across the fashion industry. 

UPFIELD 

After four years of product engineering, Upfield has created the first ever paper tubs for its Flora Plant butters and spreads. Arriving in the UK, the plastic-free, recyclable tubs will be available in Sainsbury’s stores across the country, having successfully launched in Austria. New Food Magazine

“…taking a significant step towards meeting our target to reduce plastic packaging by 80% by 2030. The tubs have received Conventional Plastic Free Certification, and are recyclable in local paper waste streams.” LinkedIn

The announcement comes with realism about Upfield’s process, clearly communicating its plastic-reduction target. It also shows a dedication to make a fully recyclable product that’s easy for the consumer. 

Upfield was also one of the first food manufacturers to share details of its products’ carbon impacts, calculated by an independent third-party life cycle assessment (LCA). LCAs look at every stage of a product – including ingredients, production, energy use, transport and what happens to the packaging at the end of its life. Upfield

This is a lesson in ‘how to walk the walk’ and communicate achievements with integrity. 

ALL BIRDS

Allbirds is taking leaps beyond simply measuring and mitigating its impact, instead focusing on tactics to reduce the brand’s footprint, and clearly communicating them. Allbirds creates an annual sustainability report, and highlights its commitment to change: 

“We get it—talk is cheap. And lately, it seems like there’s a lot of it, without much action. Which is why we’re focused on 2025 and committing to a five-year to-do list—goals that will let you hold us accountable.” Allbirds

Allbirds makes it so easy to discover its progress reporting and strategy, including a detailed plan as to how the brand is going to get there. All the brand’s shoes come with a carbon footprint score, and this year, it’s releasing the world’s first zero-carbon shoe: M0.0NSHOT. What’s truly impressive is that Allbirds is open-sourcing the toolkit it used to create the zero-carbon shoes. An invite to the industry to do better. 

And, in the spirit of transparency, it’s been a joy for us to work with Upfield on this latest project. The team’s commitment to ongoing sustainability and honesty is fantastic, and we’re very much looking forward to the next stage of the brand’s progress. 

If you’d like support on communicating your own green credentials, or are looking for support on your sustainability journey, get in touch. We’d love to help out. 

toby@catchafireagency.com | +44 (0) 7880 696 385

Keen to learn more all about Green Hushing, and how to avoid it, sign up for our next webinar here.