Published 1 month ago.
About a 4 minute read.
Image: Sora Shimazaki
We caught up with TrusTrace co-founder and CEO Shameek Ghosh to discuss
companies’ tendency to ‘greenhush’ to avoid scrutiny around sustainability and
his advice for overwhelmed retailers.
With the constant noise of brands claiming to pursue carbon neutrality and other
sustainability goals, many well-meaning retailers are left scrambling to define
their own goals. Hearing such broad statements can leave brands feeling
overwhelmed and frankly, inferior — and has fueled a new form of corporate
According to Shameek Ghosh, co-founder
and CEO of supply chain traceability platform TrusTrace,
— disguising or downplaying sustainability efforts, in an attempt to draw
attention away from a company’s sustainability failures — has become an
increasingly common response to this overwhelming scenario; attempting to
overhaul an entire company’s sustainability strategy all at once can lead to
executives believing that it might be easier to simply not have a strategy at
We caught up with Ghosh to learn more about the tendency to ‘greenhush’ and his
advice for overwhelmed retailers.
Shameek Ghosh: When organizations deliberately do not talk about their ESG
credentials and the things they’re doing to drive positive change, that is
on the other hand, is when organizations intentionally exaggerate their ESG
credentials to give an impression of having better environmental policies and
impact than what is actually the case.
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SG: In the wake of governments cracking down on
and facing the reputational
involved, organizations are becoming more cautious. To avoid risks of
greenwashing under increased scrutiny, it is necessary to be able to back up
your claims with evidence — and as this can be difficult without the right data
and tracking in place, it becomes easier and safer to communicate less.
SG: Most major retailers already have quite well-defined ESG goals, so the
focus is more on ensuring that you have the data and insights to be able to
deliver or — even better — overdeliver on these sustainability and
responsibility promises. However, for those that have not yet started, a good
place to begin is to look at the parts of the business and portfolio that have
the biggest presumed impact — e.g. due to size and the social and environmental
risk tied to geographies, materials, processes, etc. Once you understand size
and assumed impact, it becomes easier to prioritize data collection and target
SG: In order to successfully implement defined goals for sustainable
business practices, retailers must first validate the assumptions that follow
the goals they’ve set — this can be done by leveraging primary data. From there,
they must next determine what kind of data is necessary in order to meaningfully
track and improve progress. It’s crucial for both internal and external
stakeholders to understand the targets they’re setting inside in order to
deliver upon them. Finally, stakeholders need to have the necessary tools to
empower them to deliver on targets — which can include data, tools, insights,
budget and internal alignment.
SG: As regulations continue to make it mandatory for retailers to have
detailed information about how, where, under which conditions, and with what
environmental impact (i.e carbon
products have been made, supply chain visibility becomes an increasingly
important and realistic solution for retailers to remain compliant with mounting
will only become more simple, tangible and impactful as more brands adopt the
solution — including this as a regular business practice strengthens
relationships with suppliers as well, creating an adept network across the
industry. Knowledge is power, and you can’t change what you cannot measure — so,
a solution that provides insights and evidence into supply chain practices is a
must-have. Having granular data on what’s happening within their brand’s supply
chain at your fingertips has the potential to help retailers make informed
decisions about their business from all angles — not only in regards to
SG: Retailers must remember that carrying out sustainable business practices
is a transformational journey from start to finish. It’s going to take time and
resources — and most importantly, true commitment to change. With this in mind,
it’s critical that there is endorsement and prioritization from the executive
level — ensuring organizational alignment, commitment and resource allocation.
When sustainable practices are properly implemented, the benefits are well worth
the effort. Not only are these practices good for business and profits, but they
are motivating for employees.
is becoming so ubiquitous in businesses and essential sustainability efforts
that people are beginning to choose roles based on whether or not the
organization has a traceability program in place. Traceability is no longer a
nice-to-have — it’s a must-have.
Published Jan 17, 2024 8am EST / 5am PST / 1pm GMT / 2pm CET