You've probably started to hear the term greenwashing now that everything eco, green, sustainable, ethical... is in fashion. OK, but let's start with the first thing, what is greenwashing and above all, how can I detect it.
If we translate greenwashing literally we have "greenwashing". Greenwashing consists of greenwashing an environmental image. In other words, putting more effort into marketing and awareness campaigns to demonstrate a green commitment before reducing the real impact of the brand on the planet and all the beings that inhabit it.
Explained in this way, it seems obvious to distinguish the brands that use GREENWASHING from those that really present sustainable values, although in practice... it is not so simple...
But, hey! don't get discouraged, we have prepared some questions to help you detect when a brand is using greenwashing that, together with your common sense, will help you to consume products that are more in line with your values. Come on, let's get started...
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF YOUR PRODUCTION IS REALLY SUSTAINABLE?
For example, we can currently see big fast fashion brands bringing out sustainable collections. This is a good indication because it encourages people to talk about this type of fashion, but is it really significant within their business model? Or is it really just a strategy to join the slow fashion movement? If a brand is sustainable, it will follow these criteria for all types of production, not for a specific collection.
IS IT TRANSPARENT WHEN IT COMMUNICATES?
Where they manufacture, how the fabric is created, what dyes they use, policies regarding the working conditions of their workers... Nowadays, most brands make this information public. So, we should rephrase the question to; is the information provided by the brand complete or just superficial information?
WHAT IS ITS HISTORY, ITS CREDIBILITY?
A simple way to find out a bit more about a brand's history is to google the brand name followed by: "greenwashing", "scandal", "controversy". It's a quick tip but it will help us to get another view, both positive and negative, about the brand.
DO YOU JUST TALK ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY OR IS THERE REALLY EVIDENCE ABOUT YOUR PRACTICES?
Talking about your sustainable practices is not a bad thing. Having sustainable principles and values is great. But there's something even better - taking action. Spending a lot of resources talking about how sustainable this organic cotton collection is is important for your green marketing. But what is really important is action, implementing progressive changes to become more and more sustainable.
As we have discussed in other articles, there are different ways to promote sustainability within the brand. As we have always said, creating a business model that is sustainable, that focuses on recycling and reusing fabrics, that the conditions of all workers, wherever they are in the country, are decent, using ecological packaging, ecological dyes?
YOU PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE AS A CONSUMER
Now that you know how to spot a brand that uses greenwashing as a strategy to improve its sales, I would like to point out that you, as a consumer, also have a fundamental role in this whole story. It is your mission to ask yourself before buying if you really need this garment. If the answer is yes, inform yourself, ask, ask around and find that brand that matches your values and your style. This can be a first step towards more sustainable consumption.
We know that everything seems simpler than it really is but nobody is perfect, everyone makes mistakes and has things to improve. We cannot expect brands to be 100% sustainable because it would not be realistic today. We are all learning to go down the path of sustainability. And it is the job of all of us, both brands and consumers, to reflect and start creating and consuming based on ethical and sustainable values.