What is ”greenwashing” in the fashion industry?
”Greenwashing” (also called ”greensheen”) is a term used to describe the practice of companies launching adverts, campaigns, products etc. under the pretence that they are environmentally beneficial, often in contradiction to their environmental and sustainability record in general.
The greenwashing term itself has been around since the 1960s, but American environmentalist Jay Westerveld popularised it in 1986.
How can you avoid greenwashing in fashion?
1. Look for clear evidence online or in store for information about the company’s sustainability agenda.
2.Look for facts & figures look for where a brand’s cotton is farmed or polyester recycled, where is it dyed and produced, and even where they source small stuff like buttons or zippers.
3.Look for certifications from Fair Trade, EcoCert and B Corporation to PETA, GOTS or BCI, these certifications all serve the same purpose: to evaluate a brand’s sustainable practices.
4.Natural isn’t always 100% eco-friendly, and vegan doesn’t always equate to cruelty-free
Most vegan products are made from synthetic, petroleum-derived fabric. So unless you find plant-derived vegan products, take the term ‘vegan’ with a pinch of salt too.
5.Focus on brands with a holistic approach to sustainability look at how they approach product design, manufacturing, shipping, packaging; the works.