If you’ve found yourself being sustainable-curious lately, then you are not alone. However, shopping for an environmentally-conscious product can seem rather perplexing, especially with all the rampant greenwashing among brands lately. But fret not, we’re here to give you the lowdown on all the things to watch out for, and how you can rest assured knowing you made the right choice.Point of Discovery
While social media usually tends to be the most common place for discovering new brands, we would exercise caution before blindly buying into a brand’s projected image. Consider pulling up the Good On You app instead, that performs a credible background check on brands by giving them an ethical score on a 1 to 5 scale — 5 being the best and anything 2 or below would be best avoided. The app collects over 500 data points per brand across more than 100 key sustainability issues and indicators while also weighing in on third party sources according to their scope (the issues they address) and the quality of their assurance (how well they ensure brands comply with the standards that have been set).
It would be wise to check on the clothing care labels with the same level of caution that you would use to check calories on a nutrition label. Usually the first thing to be snipped off upon purchase, wash and care labels contain key information on fabric compositions that can tell you whether it's sustainable or not. Most of our clothes are made of plastic; synthetic fibres like polyester, spandex and nylon, are actually made from fine strands of plastic. Due to their cheap cost, brands incorporate them widely into clothes that further go on to release invisible microplastics into our water streams with every wash. As a substitute, seek out organic cotton, hemp, vegan silk, linen and bamboo along with certifications like GOTS, Fair Trade, Bluesign and Oeko-Tex that provide further confirmation that the fabrics were created and processed responsibly.
Knowing a thing or two about sustainable jargon can help you tell the difference between greenwashed promotional tactics and genuinely backed claims. Here’s a brief list of need-to-know terms that can help you discover and shop better;
Carbon Offset: A reduction in greenhouse gases designed to compensate an increase in emissions elsewhere.
Circular Fashion: A system of designing and producing clothes that eradicates waste.
Living Wage: The minimum amount a worker should earn in order to sustain a decent livelihood and afford basic needs for themselves and their family.
Slow Fashion: An antithesis of fast fashion, slow fashion promotes mindful shopping practices and maintaining a limited wardrobe of essentials rather than following fleeting trends.
Sustainability: Refers to the way of life in which human and natural systems co-exist in a balanced and non-destructive way that enables continuous prosperity and well-being for all.
Transparency: The extent to which a brand discloses credible information about how their products are made; including its manufacturing processes, distribution, worker welfare and environmental impact.
Upcycling: Transforming old or unwanted products and materials into new ones, hereby giving them new life and increasing their actual or perceived value.
Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2020-10-12