When we’re out shopping for clothes, and just browsing through the racks, we don’t really pay attention to the brands. If we see a collection being marketed as sustainable and if it’s on sale, we will buy it immediately.
And that’s one of our biggest mistakes. Most of the items that are being marketed and promoted as sustainable and eco-friendly aren’t actually sustainable. Most of the time it’s just fast fashion brands marketing their collections and items as eco-friendly and saying they’re committed to being sustainable when in reality they aren’t.
Everyone has realized how lucrative this whole branch of fashion is, and how much of it is in demand, especially with younger Gen Z and Millennials customers. Most of what they’re saying are just buzzwords with no explanation or proof to back up what they’re saying, paired with a clever marketing tactic to reel customers in and get them to buy their products.
What Is Greenwashing?
Greenwashing in the fashion industry (explained in layman’s terms) can manifest itself as fashion brands releasing collections and items and then marketing them as “eco-friendly and sustainable”, brands saying they’re using organic without saying how they’re sourced, or how they’re produced, and how are the workers being treated, brands claiming they’re committed to sustainability and ethical practices without disclosing any information on how they’re going to do that, and etc.
Greenwashing is an ongoing trend that’s becoming a big problem not only in the fashion industry but almost everywhere else, and it’s creating mistrust in the customers’ eyes and they can’t really tell if a brand is genuine or it’s being deceitful with its marketing.
How Do I Spot Greenwashing?
In the fashion industry, greenwashing can be very difficult to spot because of the complexity of the supply chains and the multitude of environmental claims that are made.
Here are some tips to help you spot greenwashing in fashion:
Look For Third-Party Certifications
Do Your Research
Research the brand and its sustainability claims and practices. Check if their environmental claims align with their actions and whether they have previous ethical and environmental controversies.
Be Wary Of Vague Or Broad Claims
Always be skeptical of claims that are too vague or broad, and claims that don’t have any evidence to back them up, such as “eco-friendly” and “sustainable”. These terms can be subjective and open to interpretation, and may not actually represent a significant environmental impact.
Consider The Entire Lifecycle Of The Product
Consider the environmental impact of the product from its production to its expiration, including the materials that were used, the production process, transportation, and disposal.
Look For Transparency
Keep an eye out for brands that are transparent about their sustainability practices and that are willing to share information about their supply chain, materials, and production process.
By being mindful and attentive to these factors, you will be able to spot greenwashing in fashion and make more informed and sustainable choices as a consumer.
How Do I Avoid Greenwashing?
We’ve also compiled a list of some tips to help you avoid greenwashing in fashion. Some of these may overlap with some of the tips from above, but it’s better to write them down multiple times than to forget them.
Here are some tips to help you avoid greenwashing:
Do Your Research
Look out for brands that are genuinely committed to sustainability and environmental responsibility. Check their websites, social media accounts for more information about their sustainability practices, certifications, and partnerships.
Check Their Materials
Look for products that are made from sustainable, eco-friendly, organic materials, such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, or Tencel. Just be careful of vague claims, such as “eco-friendly” or “green”, without any specifics about how the product was made or what materials were used.
Check Their Supply Chains
Always ask questions about where and how the clothing was made. A truly sustainable company will be transparent about its supply chain and willing to share information about its suppliers and production processes.
Look For Certifications
Look For Transparency
A company that is truly committed to being sustainable will be transparent about its environmental impact, including emissions, water usage, and waste reduction.
Be Mindful Of The Packaging
Keep an eye out for brands that use minimal or recyclable packaging. Be careful of products that come in excessive packaging or use buzzwords like “biodegradable” without any certification or evidence to prove it.
Consider The Entire Lifecycle
A truly sustainable product considers the entire lifestyle, from raw materials to disposal. Look for products that are made from sustainable materials, have minimal packaging, and can be easily refilled, reused, recycled, repurposed, or upcycled.
Don’t Fall For Marketing Tricks
Greenwashing often relies on buzzwords and marketing tactics to make products seem more eco-friendly than they actually are. It’s important to investigate these claims and make sure they’re backed up by evidence.
The key to avoiding greenwashing is to be more attentive and to do our research. By supporting brands and designers that are genuinely committed to sustainability, we can make a more positive change in the fashion industry.
In conclusion, greenwashing in the fashion industry is a big problem that can’t be ignored. A lot of companies use misleading claims to make their products seem more environmentally friendly than they actually are. This leads to customers being misled and thinking they’re making a positive impact on the environment when they’re not.
To avoid greenwashing, we as consumers need to educate ourselves more on sustainable fashion practices and look for credible certifications and labels that verify a product’s environmental and sustainability claims. We should always research a company’s sustainability practices and choose brands that prioritize transparency and have a track record of sustainable practices and have no ethical and sustainability scandals and controversies.
Governments should also try to implement a lot of laws and regulations to control and prevent greenwashing from spreading even more.
To prevent greenwashing, fast fashion brands should take a more comprehensive approach to sustainability, including a focus on ethical production, fair labor treatment, and reduced environmental impact. Companies should always PRIORITIZE transparency and provide clear and honest information about their sustainability practices and the environmental impact of their products. This can be achieved with third-party certifications, transparency reports, and public disclosures about their sustainability goals and progress.
To sum up, greenwashing is a very significant issue in the fashion industry that requires action from both customers and fashion companies. By prioritizing transparency and implementing sustainability practices, we can make a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry.
This concludes today’s article, we hope these tips will help you navigate through the fashion industry and shopping a bit easier. Let us know if we missed anything!