Transparency About Sustainability on Websites

More and more companies are working on sustainability. Due to the fear that their activities will be dismissed as 'greenwashing', they are unfortunately increasingly reluctant to go public about this. However, by being transparent about your sustainability efforts, you can show customers that sustainability is a serious subject for you and is not used as greenwashing.


Customers are starting to place increasing value on how sustainable a company and its products or services are. For example, the Global Sustainability Study (2021) conducted by Simon & Kucher shows that 85% of consumers have become more sustainable in the past five years. The same study also shows that sustainability is seen as an important criterion when making a purchase by more than 60% of consumers. 50% of consumers also indicate that sustainability is in their top five aspects that add value to a product or service. It is expected that these numbers will only continue to rise in the coming years. Because of these increased expectations around sustainability, there will be increasing pressure on companies to become transparent about their sustainability efforts. But how do you deal with this properly as a company, especially when other research (Edelman 2019 Trust Barometer) showed that 56% of consumers think that "too many brands abuse social issues to sell more products"?

Sustainable development goals

Sustainable goals

In order to communicate transparently about sustainability, it can help to make specific what this means for the company. You can do this by drawing up a list of specific objectives with a timetable attached to them for when those objectives will be achieved. You can, for example, draw up these goals based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations. It is of course also possible to include specific goals, for example about CO₂ emissions, packaging, or returns, without explicitly using the SDG. When setting the goals, keep in mind that they become more powerful the more clearly formulated and made specific they are. Also make sure that you indicate how customers contribute to achieving the set sustainable goals by purchasing products or services from your company.


  • "Our goal is to become completely CO₂ neutral as a company by 2025. We plan to achieve this goal by first reducing our energy consumption by 30% and also switching to renewable energy sources. We are also working to reduce the amount to reduce the waste we produce by 25% and the amount of water we use by 40%. We also aim for more than half of our products to consist of sustainable or recycled materials."
  • "As a company that sells sustainable products, we are committed to only using materials that have been sustainably purchased from 2025. From that moment on, all our products will also be sent in environmentally friendly packaging. We also recycle all our company waste and support charities who focus on environmental conservation and biodiversity by donating 1% of our turnover annually. Finally, we offer our customers educational opportunities in the form of videos to help them learn more about how to live more sustainably."

Transparent about the company

It can sometimes be difficult for consumers to determine which companies are really making a difference in the world and which companies are only greenwashing for their own benefit. That is why it is important to be transparent both online and offline about what activities and ongoing efforts the company undertakes to make a real impact. Make sure that this is not done in abstract and ambiguous terms, but rather share the specific steps your company is taking to contribute to a better future. Also try to take into account that you do this both at an internal level (within the company itself) and externally (with partners and suppliers, through products sold, etc.). Sharing this information about the company will then lead to more customer trust, because they will see that you are serious about sustainability.


  • "We are a sustainable company, so when you buy from us you are always making a positive difference. We apply sustainable business practices, from using renewable energy sources to reducing our waste, and we also support local businesses and communities that use our sharing a commitment to sustainability. So when you buy from us, you can be sure you're supporting a company that truly cares about the planet - and a company that is actively making a difference in its own community."
  • "One of the most important things we do to make a real impact is partner with - and support - companies and organizations committed to saving the planet. We believe in the power of teamwork, and we know that together we can make a difference. This is why we work closely with various NGOs that are committed to making the world a better place. We also share our knowledge and resources with other companies so that they can achieve more results without having to reinvent the wheel ."

Transparent about products and services

Marketing is still used by many companies to promote products or services that have little added value for consumers. Low-quality products or services are also regularly offered. As a result, consumers have become wary of marketing statements that companies make about their products or services. However, by providing transparent information about the products or services, you as a company can rebuild trust with your customers. Of course, make sure that you do not make claims that you cannot substantiate. For example, show relevant research that you have done or provide examples that support the benefits you mention. In addition to rebuilding trust, this also signals to consumers that they are purchasing from a company that shares their values, something that is seen as important, especially for the younger generations.


  • "We all know that there are many companies that engage in greenwashing. However, we really want to work towards a greener future. That is why we are so transparent about our sustainability efforts and the progress we are making towards our goals. We want that Our customers see our commitment to making a positive impact on the world and trust us to provide them with high-quality products and services that match their values and needs."
Data delen

Share raw data and statistics

Sharing raw data and statistics can help give consumers more confidence in what a company is doing. It also lets consumers know that you are serious about making an impact on the world. The best way to work this out varies per company. For example, you can use sharing raw data and statistics to substantiate claims about your products and services, so that consumers see that they really make an impact when they purchase them. You can also consider organizing something like a 'green summit'. During such an event, where you invite a broad set of stakeholders, you can then talk about ways in which the company can become even more sustainable. Another alternative is to provide insight into how much CO₂ emissions the company has made in a specific period. It may offer added value to also include a list of specific actions that are being taken or planned to reduce those emissions. It can also help to share stories about how your products or services have had an impact on suppliers, customers or employees, for example. An additional advantage of researching this information is that when a customer has questions about sustainable initiatives, you can provide detailed answers to the customer with clear figures.


  • "Our team calculates that we saved an estimated 50 tonnes of CO₂ emissions last year by using green energy sources for our online services. We are also proud to have recycled over 90% of our waste, which equates to on more than 15 million plastic bottles. In addition, we have donated more than 600 hours to various local charities and organizations."
    "We believe customers are our best ambassadors, so we want to provide them with facts and data that show how we are making a real difference in the world. These customers will be more likely to recommend our products if we can show them that we do not apply greenwashing, but really make a difference."

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Frequent updates

By sending regular updates on your progress towards the set sustainable goals to your customers, you show them that you are serious about making an impact. You can do this, for example, with the help of a newsletter or blog, but social media is also suitable for this. Make sure you include concrete examples of issues you encountered and how you resolved them. It can also help to be clear in those updates about what challenges you encounter. This can lead to useful feedback from customers on how you can learn to deal with this better.


  • "We believe in the powers of 'showing' rather than just 'telling about'. That's why we're so concerned with being transparent about our practices. We don't just say we're making a difference, we also take photos and videos to show it off. We believe that by being authentic and genuine with our customers, we can build strong relationships based on trust and respect, which is why we will always continue to provide information about our progress towards our sustainability goals. After all, we have nothing to hide and we are proud of the work we do for the environment."
  • "We know it's important to show customers our company's commitment to sustainability. That's why we regularly share information about our efforts with them on our website and social media channels. We're also happy to answer any questions they may have about what we're doing to make a difference. make a difference. We believe that by being transparent with customers, we can demonstrate our commitment to environmental protection and help them make informed decisions about the products and services they use and support."

Limitations and compromises

No company, product, or service is perfect. And customers usually find that quite okay. Therefore, as a company, be open about potential limitations or compromises. Your customers will appreciate this honesty with their trust and may even be able to suggest solutions for improvements. By being honest about any limitations you show them that you are not just selling something, but want to provide them with the best possible solution to their problem. It also helps to set the right expectations of what a product can or cannot do for a consumer, something that can contribute to more realistic product reviews, for example. If you then also promise to work hard on improvements, this can further contribute to the confidence that consumers have and ensure more conversions in the future.


  • "We understand that sometimes it is necessary to make compromises when running a sustainable business. However, when we as a company have to make a trade-off between sustainability and profit, we like to be transparent. By explaining our thought process behind such a decision We can show that sustainability is a core value for us - even if that means that we occasionally have to make difficult choices as part of that process."

External validation

To avoid the appearance of greenwashing, it can help to collaborate with external parties. They can perform audits on the data or, for example, validate claims made by the company. This way you can show that the company operates transparently and responsibly. You can also have your products or services certified externally or, for example, have them tested by experts in the field of sustainability. In some cases, this also gives you access to so-called 'trust marks' that you can use as part of your conversion optimization efforts.


  • "We work closely with third-party organizations that can independently verify our claims about our products and our company. They can provide objective data that can be used to support our statements."
  • "We understand the value of independent audits in today's business world. We want to partner with organizations that can objectively verify our claims and hold us accountable if we don't meet our objectives. This commitment to transparency and accountability helps build trust with our customers and it also makes our products more attractive to potential partners and investors."
  • "Our company wants to operate transparently and responsibly. That's why we hire independent agencies to ensure we're on the right track. These agencies help us track and measure our progress toward our sustainability goals and provide us with valuable suggestions on how we can further improve our practices."


It can be exciting for companies to be more transparent about their sustainability efforts. However, by approaching this topic in an authentic and vulnerable way, you can ensure that consumers gain more confidence in your company and its products and services.

About the author

Theo van der Zee (MSc, Psychology) has been building and optimizing websites and web shops for more than 20 years. As a freelance conversion specialist, he helps companies to improve their websites based on research and experiments.

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