Are you a victim of Greenwashing? Probably yes.

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Nowadays, everything revolves around sustainability, inside and outside the fashion industry, have you really stopped to think what sustainability is? What is its true meaning? And what meaning does the brands give to it?

 

It may surprises you to know that in the strict sense of the word sustainability refers to “what can be maintained for a long time without depleting resources or causing serious damage to the environment” (RAE); If we lean towards the UN definition, sustainability is “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”

 

Interesting, right? Was it what you thought it meant?

 

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If you are like me, you probably thought it was more related to the use of recycled textiles in garments, the reduction of water during production, the use of organic cotton, or having superior quality certifications in the processes. And yes, these concepts are related in some way to the definition of “sustainability”, but it is also true that brands are exploiting the definition. It is very likely that your favorite ‘conscious’ brand is making use of greenwashing to help you feel good buying their clothes.

 

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Greenwashing is when a company or organization spends more time and money promoting itself as ‘green’ than actually minimizing their environmental impact. It is a deceptive advertising stunt aimed at misleading consumers who prefer to buy goods and services from truly environmentally conscious brands.

But don’t worry, though there are some malicious brands, greenwashing is rarely caused by schemes to cheat. Normally is the result of an excess of enthusiasm. It’s easy to see why marketers are excited: According to Nielsen’s Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 66% of consumers would spend more on a product if it came from a sustainable brand, and that number rises to 73% among millennials.

 

But don’t worry there are many wonderful companies that tell their environmental stories to the world and even some don’t do it, but should. Here are some points that you can start to verify to acquire more reliable brands truly committed to ‘sustainability’.

 

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10 basic greenwashing tactics to avoid:

 

  • Vague language: words or terms without a clear meaning (eg, “eco-friendly”)
  • Suggestive images: images that give a green (unwarranted) impression (for example, flowers sprouting from pipes. I mean?…)
  • Irrelevant claims: emphasis on a small green attribute when everything else is anti-green
  • Brags about being “best in class”: statement that you are a little more environmentally friendly than the rest, even if the rest is pretty terrible
  • Imaginary Friends – A label that looks like an endorsement from a third party … except it’s made up
  • No Evidence – A statement that could be correct but has no evidence.
  • Blatant Lies – Fully fabricated claims or data

 

Remember, at the end is our responsibility as consumers to demand best practices and products from all industries.

 

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