What is greenwashing?
Brands capitalising on ethically sounding pieces due to the demand in sustainable products is greenwashing. It’s a marketing technique taking advantage of the growing popularity of sustainable/ethical products, and using this to increase sales without actually being sustainable or fulfilling their claims.
H&M sustainable summer dress range
Three days ago, Grazia reported that H&M’s new range of sustainable summer dresses is already set to be a summer sell-out. Although a sustainable range may seem like progress, it is in fact just performative.
I was happy to see that the comments on Grazia’s post were full of people calling out H&M for its greenwashing. This range is a prime example of using buzz words like ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethical’ to lure people into buying things they believe are environmentally friendly. But, we have to remember that brands with ‘conscious/ethical’ lines are still fast fashion, and this ‘awareness’ is not carried across to their other lines.
Sustainability isn’t just about recycled products, it’s multi-faceted and involves the whole supply chain (manufacturers, suppliers, distributors). Selling a ‘sustainable’ dress for £20 immediately brings into question who has made the garment, how much they are getting paid, and where exactly the materials are sourced from. Promoting a range solely as ethical because of recycled materials is false and misleading.
Other fast fashion brands like Pretty Little Thing, Primark, Zara, and Topshop have ‘conscious’ clothing lines, jumping on a bandwagon to appear like they care. But, the profits from these ‘sustainable’ lines goes straight into a business filled with unequal and environment-destroying practices.
Good On You
This app is great if you want to find out which brands are sustainable. The app gives overall ratings to each brand, as well as ratings for labour, environment, and animal. They give a detailed analysis and offer alternatives if you’re looking for something more sustainable. It launched in Europe in June 2018, but it is improving its system constantly, providing up-to-date information. I really recommend this app, it has made my sustainable journey a lot easier!
I wanted to show you how the app operates and thought I’d take a look at H&M and Topshop:
Greenwashing is easy to spot. Take a look at the brand’s transparency, accountability, whether they have a range of sustainable lines rather than a single one, do they use buzzwords or do they provide evidence supporting their claims, and look out for any certifications that prove that they are sustainable!