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A Sustainable Design Blog

Should Sustainability Efforts Be Secret?

Now that being sustainable is au courant, there are plenty of companies out there that are going green just for the sake of getting green. And thanks to the cries of greenwashing, environmental claims on products are seeming just a bit trite. So what do you do when consumers question whether you’re doing good just to look good? The answer ... say it like you mean it.

Today I saw the video above touting Chipotle's efforts to support sustainable food systems. What so impressed me about this little video is that it didn't just tell me what Chipotle was doing, it told me why they are doing it. That's a huge distinction that makes all the difference in the world. Customers seek out the why question unconsciously and are always looking for brands that match their values.

For instance, when Clorox came out with their line of Greenworks cleaners, I immediately dismissed their good intentions. They weren't pulling their toxic products from the shelf, only trying to fill a niche that they felt would be profitable. Go to their About Us page and they even say as much, "We knew that moms like us were looking for ways to live a more natural lifestyle — and we made it our mission to help them achieve this goal." In other words, we saw a market opportunity that others were filling, so we made new products to get a share of those profits.

My point is that it's pretty easy to come off as a fake if you can't explain your motives loud and clear, back them up with actions, and welcome questioning. If your company is making great efforts to do the right think, don't just list your actions, tell the world why, what you believe in, and show that they can trust you to make the decisons that they appreciate.

Oh and making a cool viral video like Chipotle's doesn't hurt either.

Jennifer Stewart is the Office Manager and wanna-be organizational psychologist at Modern Species. For more posts from her, click here.

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Mankind's true moral test…consists in its attitude towards those who are at its mercy....- Milan Kundera