What is greenwashing?
Greenwashing is a term used to define companies (normally fast fashion) launching campaigns, adverts or anything along those lines to create the illusion of them being environmentally conscious. The campaigns often contradict a companies previous reputation of being unsustainable. So, the purpose is to trick consumers into believing that they're helping the environment, when in reality they're still damaging it.
Why do companies greenwash?
Companies greenwash in order to cover up their negative environmental methods and to then appeal to conscious and sustainable consumers. This helps them to promote and sell their products while continuing to contribute serious harm to our planet and often their garment workers too.
How to avoid greenwashing?
1) Look for transparency
The best way that you can avoid being fooled by greenwashing is to look out for transparency in the brands that you shop from. If a company fails to provide information on aspects such as where they source their fabrics, it's likely they have something to hide. Sustainable brands will provide you with clear information on their supply chain and ethos.
2) Beware of greenwashing words or aesthetic traps.
When companies use words such as earth-friendly and natural in the context of describing a product, it's easy for us to make the assumption that the product described is sustainably made. Sadly, these words alone mean nothing.
3) Explore their other products.
You may have seen companies such as H&M or Zara launching 'green' collections where the products in this particular range are made from recycled or sustainable materials. However if this is only present in that one collection and their other clothes and methods remain the same, It's simply just a marketing ploy.
What actually makes a fashion brand environmentally conscious?
The detrimental effects fashion has on our planet is mainly to blame on the millions of tons of textile waste produced every single year. SO, for a brand to be truly sustainable they must integrate this key issue into the way they make their products. This means taking on a solution such as using recycled materials for every single one of your products...not just one collection.
To be a truly sustainable fashion brand their clothes should be designed to have long-lasting style and durability with the intention of slowing down consumer consumption. This also means creating minimal yearly collections which are transeasonal to help shift buyers attitudes.
If you're still struggling to work out how sustainable a brand really is you can view their eco ratings with the help of the app goodonyou or simply email or DM them with questions! If they're genuine, they'll want to help you out...