How can sustainability be communicated beyond clichés and greenwashing?
— 31 experts shared their view
Both clichés and greenwashing are amongst the biggest traps to fall into when communicating sustainability. A "let's save the world" claim and tacky towel policy stickers are superficial and unappealing and could be a turn-off to the small group of environmentally and socially-conscious consumers. Green certification and lengthy, detailed corporate sustainability reports may (potentially) be of interest to a small niche group of highly activist consumers, who may not buy into that type of corporate hospitality in any case. However, there is a growing number of informed travelers: Those in search of genuine wellbeing and meaningful experiences at no (or as little as possible) cost to the planet. What works and what doesn't work in communicating sustainability? Any recommendations in regard to communication entering this critical decade?
PhD, Founder & Editor, Sustainability Leaders Project
As Xavier Font suggested in his interview with the Sustainability Leaders Project: "Put the customer at the centre of the sustainability experience, and tell them how they will have more fun. But do it honestly and without exaggeration." I think this sums it up nicely. When communicating with visitors, travelers (consumers): use storytelling, avoid technical jargon or dry summaries of eco-friendly practices. When communicating with trade partners or other professionals: focus on common issues and values, solutions and mutual (economic or reputational) benefits.