In a society where constant purchasing has become so normalised, the idea of being able to purchase items 24/7 whilst saving the environment is a message that brands want to communicate. Greenwashing is the idea that brands communicate the message of “We Save the Planet” or “Look At Us Doing Our Part” but they do not follow through with their actions. The Cambridge Dictionary professionally defines greenwashing as: “to make people believe that your company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is”
Most of the time brands are successful with their sustainability approach, as most consumers suspect nothing and carry on purchasing. However, due to sustainability becoming such a significant trend in the retail industry, every brand needs to communicate this message in order to have a chance of winning the purchase race. It is consumer’s responsibility to second think the information brands are feeding us and make sure the dots add up. So here are some of the ways, you can spot if a brand is greenwashing its way to your heart and money:
Look for Rate of Production
Is your new favourite “sustainable” brand launching a new collection every week? That pace of production in itself is not a sustainable practice, therefore when searching for a new brand, make sure they are not rolling out collections all night and day.
Look for the Numbers
Any brand can state they are sustainable but do not just believe the words, look for the evidence. If you are buying a clothing item that has claimed to be sustainably made, look for the percentage of recycled and organic materials. Just as Vogue has explained a brand can also quantify their sustainable goals, by outlining their environmental aims on their website. Check if a brand has set up time measurable goals before purchasing with them.
Look for the Material
Some natural materials are not “eco – friendly” as some brands claim. Materials such as Bamboo are promoted to be completely sustainable and great for the environment, however the impact of the material is dependent on the way it has been sourced. Research shows Bamboo is one of the fastest growing fibres however when transforming into fabric, suppliers can be use pesticides and chemicals. Therefore, look out for organically grown Bamboo products. If you would like to learn more about sustainable materials, using tools such as the Higgs Sustainability Materials Index is a great place to begin.
Look for Brands who Embody Sustainability
Brands that encompass sustainable practices into their business model in every element, are the businesses that truly value sustainability as an important idea. Look for brands that integrate sustainability in everything they do, from product design to their social stance on sustainability issues. These brands will provide all answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding sustainable practices, however if they do not, never be afraid to get in touch yourself. The brands that are proud of their sustainable routes, will happily provide information compared to those who are not. Do not be fooled by those brands who launch one sustainable collection a year, you know what to look out for.
Thank you for taking the time to read about greenwashing!
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