Transparency Is The New Green.

hyloh.
3 min readMay 13, 2020
Photo by Brian Kostiuk on Unsplash

As awareness and importance grows around climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss, human and resource exploitation, and the circular economy, we are no longer accepting loose environmental claims and empty promises from corporations and governments.

Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how environmentally sound a company’s products or services are. This term greenwashing was coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986, back when consumers were only able to receive news from television, radio and print media — the same outlets that corporations regularly flooded with a wave of highly-priced, slickly-produced commercials and print ads. They often presented themselves as caring environmental stewards, even as they were engaging in environmentally unsustainable practices.

You are not mistaken if you still regularly come across examples of greenwashing today, as the legislation around this practice is nowhere near as widespread as it needs to be. So many of the products and services we encounter have been painted green, either figuratively or literally — plastered with leafy green logos, or covered in crunchy brown packaging, or masked in exclamations of eco-consciousness, earth friendliness, and our personal favourite, sustainable.

We, at Hyloh, believe There Are No Sustainable Materials and the promise of sustainable materials, will be as dangerous as the promise of green.

A large number of people are now more educated and aware of the complexities of environmental impact than ever before, thanks to the incredible amount of hype and information that has been generated. While not all corporations who have engaged in greenwashing have done so with ill intentions or even knowingly, they are now being caught out, and consumer trust has been broken. Edelman Intelligence’s 2020 Trust Barometer survey indicates that ethical drivers such as integrity, dependability and purpose drive 76% of the trust capital of business, whereas competence only accounts for 24%.¹

The only way to repair the damage and restore the trust that has been broken is through pure, unadulterated transparency. The truth is the truth. By embracing this concept, less weight is put on influence and persuasion. Instead factual information will be provided so it can be independently reviewed and evaluated. If you have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t be hiding anything.

A realistic and sincere commitment to doing better, will be a huge demand signal for consumers who value transparency, and rather than pretending to be perfect, taking consumers along for the journey toward change will future-proof your organization. We acknowledge “Transparency Is The New Green” is a phrase used across various industries, to promote the use of EPDs (Environmental Product Declaration), operational transparency, and product transparency. We love the simplicity of this phrase, and would like to contribute our beliefs of transparent sustainability storytelling to this concept.

Aside from making Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) data and sustainability commitments available, the aesthetic translation of Transparency Is The New Green will also be important. Sustainability has so long been represented through ‘crunchy’ and ‘brown’ visual cues, however sustainability does not have to mean a compromise in design, quality or creativity. We at Hyloh, believe we will see consumer taste levels undoubtedly evolve as Culture Shifts Create New Material Codes — we will see synthetic uniformity and overindulged exuberance replaced by an appreciation for innovative applications of raw, authentic materials.

Our days of going ‘green’ are over. The only way to present an environmentally responsible public image, is to actually be environmentally responsible. Consequently, the only way to practise a more sustainable lifestyle is to be informed, aware and motivated to make better choices and change our actions. Reflecting and uncovering existing flaws and stepping up to the design, business and lifestyle challenges we face, is the only way we will disrupt the conventional paradigms that have been so destructive to our Earth. Transparency Is The New Green.

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¹ Edelman’s 20th annual trust and credibility survey is conducted by Edelman Intelligence, a global insight and analytics consultancy. Edelman Intelligence. (2020). Edelman Trust Barometer 2020. https://www.edelman.com/sites/g/files/aatuss191/files/2020-01/2020%20Edelman%20Trust%20Barometer%20Executive%20Summary_Single%20Spread%20without%20Crops.pdf

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hyloh.

Hyloh is a global consultancy making a positive impact through the application of materials, processes, and circular design thinking.