Three Ways To Know When You're Being Greenwashed

by: Rosie Dalton | 3 months ago | Features

Over recent years, greenwashing has cropped up everywhere from our supermarket aisles to fast fashion clothing racks. According to Investopedia, greenwashing is defined as “conveying a false impression that a company or its products are more environmentally sound than they really are." 

This has become particularly insidious in fashion over recent years, with many brands claiming to be 'sustainable' without the evidence to back that up. Fortunately, though, customers are starting to wise up to fast fashion brands pretending to be sustainable when they’re not.

“I like to think consumers are increasingly conscious of the difference between brands that hold sustainability as a core tenet and those that are simply greenwashing,” says Collective Canvas founder Oscar Anselmi.

But just in case, we’re rounding up a checklist of three easy ways to know when you’re being greenwashed.

1) Does the brand’s ‘sustainability’ seem surface level?
Often brands that are trying to greenwash will do so by investing in imagery that makes their products seem green. So be wary of eco-looking graphics that are stuffed with nature or plants, just for the sake of it. Sustainable diffusion lines and compostable packaging are good to see, but they are not enough to counteract an inherently unsustainable business model. So, don't judge a book by its cover, in other words.

2) Do they have any certifications or other proof?
Certifications offer a form of concrete proof and are helpful in determining which brands are genuinely minimising their planetary impact. So keep an eye out for certified sustainable fabrics such as certified organic cotton or closed loop viscose like Tencel, which is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

3) Is their sustainability commitment holistic?
To be truly sustainable, brands need to not only be using the right fabrics, but they also need to have a holistic approach to sustainability. If their business model is one that focusses on fast trends and rampant overproduction, for example, then this is greenwashing. So dig a little deeper to find out what you can about their supply chain and how often they produce new styles.

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