What Can Travel Teach Us About Green Washing?

What Can Travel Teach Us About Green Washing?

Today is Travel DAZE and the hot topic of Australia’s most influential forum for the travel industry is: sustainability. How can businesses and brands have a sustainable purpose and learn to thrive again after a global pandemic?

Natalie Kidd, chief of people and purpose at Intrepid, and Mindi Leow, head of impact and growth at B LAB, graced today’s stage for their panel Purpose & Value: A B Corp Discussion moderated by Travel Weekly’s editor and good friend of B&T, Ali Coulton.

As companies continue to be held to increasing demands for sustainability from the general public, one of the greatest offences modern day advertisers can commit is the sin of “green-washing”. 

Green-washing blurs the lines of which companies are actually doing good, and which companies are simply cashing-in. And the travel industry is no exception. 

One thing the travel industry has which Adland can leverage is the B Corp Certification which aims to reward “sustainable, inclusive and regenerative” systems, says Leow.

The B Corp certification measures the impact company’s have on their stakeholders. It’s a rigorous process to become certified, and companies must commit to a process of continuous improvement as B Corp standards are escalated every three years.

Natalie Kidd of B Corp certified travel and adventure company, Intrepid, explains they were inspired to pursue the certification in support of their believe that travel is “not just for visitors, but for the people and places we go to.”

To people at Intrepid, the B Corp certification represented an “external, formally verified mechanism” to validate that their operations were objectively for better. No “green-washing” here, folks!

So how does this relate to our industry?

Well, Leow actually worked in marketing and advertising for a decade, and can appreciate that very few Adlanders are in actual fact movie villains who wake up to develop a grade-A, “green-washing” scam to mislead consumers. 

The reality is, as Leow explains, modern companies are “grappling with massive issues like climate change, biodiversity issues, and supply chain issues, let alone transparency issues with the supply chain.”

That’s why it’s important for advertisers to understand the reality of the brands they work with.

As companies struggle to meet the complex demands of sustainability “green-washing could happen because we don’t know what we don’t know,” says Leow.

Kidd agrees that companies are “not overtly trying to mislead people,” but maintains it is “our responsibility to really help consumers cut through all the BS.”

Can business talk to not just what they’re doing or want to do, but how they’re doing it? Can you own and be transparent about the things you haven’t yet achieved, just as Intrepid does?

The answer is to equip ourselves with knowledge, and look to our leaders to promote good practices.  If you want to get started today, check out B Corp’s free impact assessment tool!

Plus at the end of the day, being purposeful is an important part of risk-management, and a solid way to future-proof your business.

As Leow tells B&T “doing good is good for business”.

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