I'm hearing about the importance of "being authentic" more and more and think its an important sustainability key. The other day I was listening to a podcast (Mick Dunn's Sustainacast, which I highly recommend) where they talked about how speakers at conferences always highlight all the amazing things their companies are doing for sustainability (basically company advertising time). But when one company stood up and talked about their problems, and asked the audience for help, it was a refreshing change - the company was being honest, and authentic.
"Society gets it’s education about sustainability from advertising, and this has therefore become the focus of sustainability for companies (how do we look??). The good news is that it’s helped elevate awareness, but the bad news is that people’s (and perhaps company's) ideas of what sustainability really looks like is probably not that far removed from going to Olive Garden for authentic Italian food." (Source)
If a company is authentic, and customers trust this authenticity (through a series of trustworthy experiences), it doesn't greenwash (make up stuff about how sustainable they are when they really aren't). The company also develops a trusting relationship throughout its supply chain, saving it time and money and ensuring long term authenticity.
Part of being authentic is also about not promising the world, and being truthful about why they are wanting to be more sustainable. How can a company "be sustainable?" It's not possible! Does a company really want to be more sustainable to save the world? probably not. But they can communicate their goals to move towards being more sustainable, and be truthful about the reasons for doing so. if they achieve these goals, or talk about how they didn't achieve them, then they are being a lot more authentic than a company that promises huge change, says its saving the world, and doesn't deliver.
Companies are realising that the way they communicate their sustainability journey to consumers and others is super important, and that being authentic, transparent and honest is the best way forward.
I try to be authentic. In fact, I sometimes get into trouble for "telling it like it is". I'm not into spin, but I am into positivity when I see it! What about you?