Before we take a deep dive into today’s theme, let’s just do a little recap on greenwashing.
Greenwashing is a term used to describe the practice of companies making false or exaggerated claims about their sustainability and environmental impact.
And the fashion industry, especially the fast fashion industry, which is known for its environmental and ethical malpractices, is no exception.
Since customers started to realize how much the fashion industry is polluting the environment, they’ve started to look for more sustainable alternatives. And because of that a lot of big brands started jumping on the bandwagon and started incorporating sustainable and eco-friendly slogans into their marketing campaigns, but not all of them are making visible changes to their business practices.
And as a result of that, consumers may be misled into believing that they are purchasing environmentally-friendly clothing when in reality, they are just contributing to the industry’s negative impact on the planet.
This phenomenon, known as greenwashing in fashion, has become a growing concern for both consumers and industry experts alike.
5 Examples Of Greenwashing In The Fashion Industry
The brands that are doing greenwashing, are often trying to be clever and think of new ways how to trick people into buying their garments and still do their “usual” practices, without being caught. We’ve compiled a list of 5 examples of greenwashing in the fashion industry, such as:
“Green” Materials That Aren’t Sustainable
Some brands usually use fabrics and materials such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, bamboo, etc., to appear as if they’re using sustainable fabrics. But what they don’t tell you is that most of these materials require a huge amount of resources of energy to produce, and may not be truly sustainable.
Organic cotton uses fewer pesticides to grow and is better for the environment, but it still requires a lot of water to grow. And during the process of turning cotton into fabric, they’re often using harmful chemicals and a large amount of water.
Bamboo is often marketed as a much more eco-friendlier alternative to cotton, as it grows much quicker and requires fewer pesticides. But in order to turn bamboo into fabric, a lot of chemicals and energy sources come into play.
Recycled polyester is made from recycled plastic bottles, which sounds and seems like a very sustainable idea. But to create this recycled polyester, companies are recycling bottles that require a lot of energy and create a lot of harmful byproducts. Plus, recycled polyester can shed microplastics, which in turn are widely known as one of the main marine life polluters.
Vague Or Misleading Claims
Another example on this list is vague or misleading claims. Some companies make vague statements where they say they’re sustainable and eco-friendly, but they won’t always have proof to show and back up their statements. Companies usually use terms such as “eco-friendly”, “sustainable”, “carbon-neutral”, etc.
This term is often used to describe products that have a lower environmental impact than conventional products. But it’s a very broad and vague term that can be applied to a wide range of products. Without any specifications and proof to show that the item is indeed eco-friendly, this claim can be misleading.
This term is very similar to “eco-friendly” and it’s often used to describe the low environmental impact of the products. This also can be very misleading if there isn’t any proof to back this up.
This term is used by companies to say or show that they reduced their carbon footprint by planting trees or investing in renewable energy. However, carbon offsetting is not a perfect solution, as companies fail to disclose greenhouse gas emissions.
Limited Edition “Sustainable” Collections
Another example of greenwashing in the fashion industry is when brands release these limited editions “sustainable” collections. These collections are marketed as environmentally friendly and socially responsible, but in reality, they may not be as sustainable as they seem.
For example, a brand might release a limited-edition collection made from organic cotton, but what they’re not telling you is that they might be using non-sustainable materials and non-ecological production processes as well.
Some brands may also use sustainable buzzwords and green imagery in their advertising and marketing campaigns to give the impression that they are committed to sustainability, even though their overall business practices do not indicate that they’re committed.
Some brands use images or branding to suggest that they’re eco-friendly and sustainable when in reality their products or practices don’t follow these claims.
On some occasions, some brands might market a collection as sustainable or eco-friendly because it contains recycled polyester while ignoring the fact that they still mass-produce clothes at a low cost with poor labor practices and horrible working conditions.
Another example is when companies use vague or misleading language in their marketing, saying that their products are “all-natural” or “chemical-free” when in truth these claims are unregulated and can be used in a deceptive way to seem eco-friendly and to get customers to buy their items.
Lack Of Transparency
Another prime example of greenwashing in the fashion industry is when a company claims that its sustainable and eco-friendly, but doesn’t disclose specific information about its manufacturing process or supply chain.
A clothing brand may advertise its items as “made from sustainable materials” but it doesn’t show any information on how and where these materials were sourced from. They also might claim that their manufacturing process is eco-friendly, but they won’t speak about their carbon emissions, or how much resources they waste.
How To Avoid Or Spot All Of This?
Furthermore, it’s important to be aware of these greenwashing schemes and to do your research before buying products from a fashion brand that is claiming to be sustainable.
To avoid falling for vague or misleading claims and schemes, it’s important to LOOK for specific details on how the product is sustainable or eco-friendly. Look for transparency around the materials used, the manufacturing process, and any certifications or third-party verifications that support the brand’s claims.
We should all be wary of the sustainability claims that fashion brands put out, and we should all read the labels and materials list very thoroughly, and read more about the brands to see if the brand’s practices align with our values, morals, and needs.
This concludes today’s article, thank you for sticking by the end and for reading! We hope that this article will serve as a helping tool to help you figure out greenwashing in the fashion industry. If we missed anything please let us know!