Declan’s blog: have your say in our Chamber forums

Staffordshire Chambers' Building with their logo

Our Chamber forums are a great way for our members to come together and shape our policy and lobbying work. Chamber forums are also a perfect opportunity to grow learning and knowledge of a specific topic. In last week’s Energy, Environment & Sustainability forum, we received an update from Malin of Hattrick, on the topics of greenwashing and green hushing.

We’re all being asked to play our part in trying to limit the impact of climate change on the planet. Businesses are becoming aware of the benefits of having ethical credentials. Reports suggest that ethical spending in the UK went up by almost 25% between 2019 and 2020, in a market which has an estimated value of £122billion. Businesses need to appeal to the demands of their ethical consumers but some are being accused of “greenwashing”. This can be described as a public relations ploy, which is used to make a company or a product appear to be “green” or environmentally friendly, without significantly reducing environmental impact.

Greenwashing will raise the profile of a company’s public image. It will aim to appeal to the ethical values of customers and suggest that buying the product, will neatly align with those values. Greenwashing can often include the likes of nature related imagery and bold claims. Vague claims about the product and “green solutions can leave us bamboozled and distract us from the real issues at hand.

In order to avoid being accused of ‘greenwashing’, some businesses are choosing to remain quiet about their environmental agenda. They may choose to sit quietly instead of highlighting their sustainable initiatives. This is known as green hushing. The most common reason for green hushing is the fear of criticism for not doing enough, and the fear of being accused of greenwashing. This can lead to reputation damage and savvy consumers opting to take their business elsewhere.

Our Energy, Environment & Sustainability forum is tasked with exchanging information on energy, environmental concerns and sustainability within the private sector. The forum helps to drive our policy understanding on energy efficiency and environmental sustainability and promote the development of a sustainable economy in Staffordshire. It’s one of eleven policy forums that we co-ordinate, with each forum meeting up three to four times a year.

Being a member of our Chamber policy forums is a great way to join your fellow members in helping to shape our policy and influence as a Chamber. It’s also a great way to grow your network contacts and with meetings typically held once a quarter, it won’t involve too much in the way of time commitment. Meetings are usually held at our Commerce House office in Stoke-on-Trent and once a meeting has finished, you’ll be very welcome to move to our Members’ Lounge, grab a brew and work from here for the rest of the day!

If you would like to join any of our policy forums, covering the topics of :

• Charity
• Digital
• Energy, Environment & Sustainability
• HS2
• HR, Employment & Skills
• Manufacturers’
• Money Matters
• Planning & Infrastructure
• Rural business
• Social value and procurement
• Transport

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