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Caution: Greenwashing Ahead!

From food to toiletries and now even the fashion industry, it seems as though labelling something as “eco-friendly” automatically makes it a hot ticket item. A tried and tested formula that consumers seem to easily fall prey to while only the brands that actually walk the talk of sustainability know what really goes into marking something as green. Which is why, one can’t help but wonder what greenwashing really is and how do we become more wary of it?

Greenwashing is similar to ‘whitewashing’, the latter being a commonly used term which means providing a false impression or hiding faults to give an attractive appearance. Likewise, greenwashing is a means used by businesses to convey false impressions or misleading information in order to appear more environmentally conscious. In the fashion industry, sustainability has become somewhat of a greenwashed buzzword that’s being rampantly used as a marketing tool to bait customers into buying their ‘seemingly green’ products. However, eco-friendly jargon isn’t the only tool brands are using to fool its consumers, here are some other ways to watch out for conspicuous greenwashing; 

1. Watch out for glossy green advertising campaigns 

These aren’t very hard to come across on social media platforms. They appear in the form of big promotions around noble yet small acts the business participates in like recycling or waste management, while operations in the rest of the company leaves much to be desired. These inflated statements make the customers believe they are shopping sustainably when they are actually not. In reality, 87 percent of material used for clothing production worldwide is sent to a landfill or incinerated after its final use and less than 1 percent of it deemed recyclable to produce new clothing.

2. The devil is in the details or lack thereof

Often advertised as an ‘organic’, ‘conscious’ or ’sustainable’ range on their e-commerce platforms, this method of greenwashing is used by popular fast fashion brands that release small capsule collections to appease the customers while the rest of their offerings continue to be made from cheap and non biodegradable material. These ranges rarely include information on where the materials came from, how they are made or what their environmental impact is. A genuinely eco-conscious brand would go out of their way to educate the customer with information and facts rather than gloss over important details of their products. 

3. Hazy statements followed by insufficient honesty

Similar to the fast fashion brands that have green buzzword dedicated collections, the information on their marketing may also include blanket statements or words like ‘natural’, ‘vegan’ or ‘non-toxic’ that tend to give off the illusion of being environmentally friendly when they are not. Honest sustainable brands tend to seek out certifications like B Corp, GOTS, BCI among many more that are credible as they have to be attained through a transparent and legal process. An honest green brand would even go so far as to provide supply chain transparency which is always a plus. 




Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2020-04-10

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