Advisor Profiles

by Wynn Williams

last updated 28/03/2024


Listing information is supplied by that particular entity. You are advised to confirm the accuracy of the listing and the FANZ membership status of any entity. Neither the sponsors of this Directory nor FANZ nor the publisher accept responsibility for any omissions or errors.

Striking The Right Balance

by Wynn Williams

last updated 28/03/2024


Paul Comrie-Thomson and Katrina Hammon of Wynn Williams on making claims over sustainability

Over the last few years, there has been a major focus on greenwashing – misleading environmental claims that businesses make about themselves and/or their products to represent themselves as more sustainable than they truly are. 

Paul Comrie-Thomson
Paul Comrie-Thomson

Environmental claims have been a priority for the Commerce Commission, and businesses have been educating themselves about avoiding greenwashing and the damage it can cause, whether through fines or negative publicity for their brand and reputation. 

What is greenhushing?

While businesses focus on avoiding greenwashing, those efforts have given rise to concerns about “greenhushing”. This is where businesses are hesitant to promote their climate initiatives as they are worried about scrutiny by the public. Some businesses are reportedly halting their climate initiatives altogether, or choosing to keep quiet about their sustainability goals, to avoid being criticised for not doing enough. Unfortunately, this can lead to businesses missing important opportunities to share their sustainability progress and goals with customers.

Greenhushing may be particularly problematic for franchise networks, especially if some franchisees are greenhushing sustainability initiatives while others are not. This can lead to inconsistency across the franchise and make it more difficult and confusing for both franchisors and franchisees to communicate their sustainability efforts openly.

Katrina Hammon
Katrina Hammon

Take action

Franchisors and franchisees need to strike the right balance between avoiding both greenwashing and greenhushing. Customers and other stakeholders (such as suppliers) are attracted to sustainability efforts and, if the right balance is struck, this can help grow demand for the business, improve brand reputation in the market and influence others to contribute positively to the sustainability movement. Our best tips are:

  • Revisit the franchise’s sustainability strategy and ensure it sets realistic sustainability targets that the franchise network can commit to;
  • Be accurate and transparent about any sustainability claims and the network’s sustainability progress to date;
  • Effectively communicate the sustainability strategy to the whole franchise network;
  • Upskill franchisees and staff to understand the strategy through further training and keeping operations manuals up to date;
  • Consider obtaining sustainability certifications (eg. the internationally-recognised B Corp process) to give customers confidence;
  • Closely monitor that the sustainability strategy is consistently communicated to customers across the network by franchisees.

Law firm Wynn Williams encourages franchise networks to proudly promote their climate initiatives as an important tool to convey the values of the franchised brand and build trust with customers. Its experienced team can advise and assist with reviewing product packaging, branding and marketing collateral to avoid greenwashing and help you to confidently promote your business’s sustainability strategies. 

See this advertorial on page 27 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 33 Issue 1

Contact details for Wynn Williams

For more information and advice on buying a franchise get your FREE copy of Franchise New Zealand magazine.

We welcome links from other websites to this article. Please note that this article is copyright ©Eden Exchange NZ Holdings Limited, Franchise New Zealand magazine and Franchise New Zealand On Line. While it may be downloaded for personal use, no part may be reproduced on any other website, in electronic or printed form or in any other form whatsoever.

Listing information is supplied by that particular entity. You are advised to confirm the accuracy of the listing and the FANZ membership status of any entity. Neither the sponsors of this Directory nor FANZ nor the publisher accept responsibility for any omissions or errors.

Order a Print Copy
Order a Print Copy
1