Greenwashing is when companies market themselves to seem more sustainable than they are. It’s a marketing and PR gimmick to capitalize on the growing demand for more environmentally friendly items whether that means healthier, less chemicals, less water used, better materials etc. Terms like ethical or sustainable don’t have any legal meaning so brands can’t be held liable.
We can all become change agents and support brands that do a little good for the world, like rax, driving the circular economy of the fashion industry. It’s said that the fashion industry is the second worst industry for the environment after the oil and gas industry. I highly recommend the documentary The True Cost which pulls back the curtain on just how horrible the fast fashion industry really is.
Consumers are becoming more cautious of these false claims. Here’s some ways to avoid supporting brands that greenwash:
A brand comes out with a conscious collection, less carbon emissions, eco-friendly packaging etc. but doesn’t use stats to back it up
Statements like “shop and save the planet”
A brand overstates one area of their environmental, social, governance (ESG) practices like using organic cotton but doesn’t pay a living wage
Only a small percentage of their collections are sustainable or environmentally friendly
Look for certifications like B Corp, Fair Trade, Better Cotton Initiative
Support brands with a holistic approach to ESG from how they treat their workers, to their suppliers, to how the item gets into your hands
Some of my favourite sustainable brands include: