Greenwashing in fashion

The Cambridge Dictionary definition of greenwashing is: “Behaviour or activities that make people believe that a company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is”.

Clothing brands churn out greenwashing almost as fast as they churn out clothes. So, how can you tell which brands are genuinely doing good things, and which ones are just talking the talk, you ask?

Frankly, it's really hard. So, to help you sniff out the wolves in cheap (geddit?) clothing, we ask the difficult questions and investigate some hard truths…

Three questions to help determine whether a brand is genuine in their pursuit of sustainability or greenwashing...

1.“Codes of Conduct" are a big thing in fashion. These are contracts with the factory which say things like workers should be paid a minimum wage. Often, both the factory and the brand know this is just box-ticking. So, the question is: How are they ensuring these codes are actually enforced? Can they guarantee their workers are paid a minimum (or, ideally, living) wage? Can they guarantee the factory is free from sexual exploitation? The answer, too often, is no.

2.Brands love to bring out a “sustainable” collection, when the bulk of their profits are still made unsustainably. But, at least they’re trying, eh? Nope. Ask: What percentage of all their collections are sustainable? And how much this has increased from previous years.

3.Then of course there’s the fact that fashion brands' business models and advertising campaigns are based on growth – making more and selling more throwaway items, so we can buy more to replace what we have thrown away. The question to ask here is: What plans do they have in place to reduce the amount they produce overall?


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