Being authentic – stories and statistics

Clients are increasingly concerned they will be perceived to be green washing when they talk about their sustainability. A valid concern.

The ASA is now scrutinising claims, and people in general have a healthy cynicism for sustainability claims. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said that from January 2022, it will conduct a full review of misleading green claims, to bring businesses into compliance and take action where needed.

Why bother talking about what you are doing? Firstly people are interested and even care. They want to buy from people doing the right thing. Secondly, a big element of sustainable development is educating others and if you are doing good things then telling people encourages others to do more. So you help raise the bar for everyone.

In-authentic claims normally take the form of woolly or verbose sentences. Policies. Support. Commitments.

The genuinely progressive organisations evidence their commitment with stories and facts. Even better to have statistics and targets. But what get’s noticed and smells of authenticity is stories.

To our mind stories backed by statistics are the way to go. If they are impact focused, and conclude with a what happens next, you will not go far wrong. The statistics should relate an impact metric with a goal and your journey so far.

Remember that you will never finish improving your organisation sustainability, Few people are looking or even able to judge your absolute position. They can judge whether you are genuinely striving to do better, and making progress.

Storytelling is central to how we make sense of things. Stories help us look at our own truths and beliefs, and relate them to other the truths and beliefs of other people. Listening to stories helps give us different perspectives and deeper understanding. Sharing stories helps us get feedback and understand other’s points of view.

If you’re trying to engage others, you should be telling or listening to a story. The statistics should back up that the story is not a one off.

If you want help making your stories, statistics and progress structured and embedded within a framework for future sustainability communication, get in touch with us at


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