In a world increasingly aware of environmental concerns, the fashion industry has faced mounting pressure to embrace sustainability. As a result, numerous brands are quick to jump on the "green" bandwagon, claiming to be eco-friendly and socially responsible. However, not all that glitters are truly green. Many companies engage in a deceptive practice known as greenwashing, where they exaggerate or misrepresent their sustainable efforts to attract conscious consumers.
As a responsible consumer, it's essential to distinguish genuinely sustainable brands from those using greenwashing tactics.
Let's explore some key strategies, backed by statistics, facts, and numbers, to help you make informed choices and support brands that truly prioritize the planet and its people.
- Don't Settle With Marketing Buzzwords
Greenwashing often involves the use of catchy buzzwords and vague phrases like "natural," and "green." However, these terms can be misleading. Only 4.5% out of the 2,219 products claiming to be environmentally friendly had legitimate environmental claims. To avoid falling victim to greenwashing, look for brands that provide specific information about their sustainability practices. According to Mckinsey & Company insight, consumers respond with a resounding "yes" about their preference for environmentally and ethically sustainable products. Truly sustainable fashion brands will go beyond buzzwords and offer transparent insights into their supply chain, materials used, and social impact.
- Look for Certifications
Reputable certifications can be powerful indicators of a brand's commitment to sustainability. For example, textile items with the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification have either at least 70% organic fibers (look for the specific percentage on the labels) or at least 95% organic fibers (look for a GOTS label with "organic" underneath, just like Terra Thread products).
Similarly, the Fair Trade Certified label guarantees fair wages and safe working conditions for workers. Certifications provide credibility, and consumers are increasingly looking for them.
Studies show more than 60% of global respondents are willing to pay more for sustainable brands. These certifications offer assurance that a brand has met rigorous environmental and ethical standards, reducing the likelihood of greenwashing practices.
Related blog: Textile Certifications To Look Out For
- Double-Check Supply Chain Information
A brand's commitment to sustainability should extend throughout its entire supply chain. According to the Fashion Revolution's Fashion 2023 Transparency Index, the average overall score of 250 of the world’s largest fashion brands creeps up by 2 percentage points to just 26%.
Ethical fashion brands will openly share information about where their products are made, the conditions in their factories, and the treatment of workers. The fashion industry employs over 75 million people worldwide, and many workers face low wages, long hours, and unsafe working conditions. Supporting brands that prioritize ethical manufacturing practices is crucial for promoting positive change.
- Evaluate Material Choices
The materials used in clothing production have a significant impact on sustainability. For example, conventional cotton is known for its heavy water consumption and pesticide use. In contrast, organic cotton, grown without synthetic chemicals, reduces water and energy consumption by up to 91% and 62%. Conscious, sustainable fashion brands prioritize eco-friendly fabrics like organic cotton, hemp, and recycled materials.
Just like our other products, this duffle bag is also made of organic cotton.
These materials have a lower environmental footprint compared to conventional options like conventional cotton and synthetic fabrics.
- Longevity and Quality
Promoting longevity in fashion is a key sustainable practice. By choosing high-quality, durable clothing items, we can significantly reduce waste and the environmental impact of the fashion industry. Investing in products made of natural fiber not only reduces our usuage of fossil fuel based fibers but also supports sustainable brands that prioritize quality craftsmanship. These brands encourage consumers to invest in timeless products, reducing the need for frequent replacements.
- Social Responsibility
Sustainability encompasses social responsibility as well. Genuinely sustainable fashion brands prioritize fair labor practices, ensuring that the people involved in their supply chain are treated ethically and paid fairly. According to the International Labour Organization, around 27.6 million people worldwide work in conditions of forced labor. Look for brands that actively promote fair wages, safe working conditions.
As an empowered and conscious consumer, you wield the ability to make profound and positive transformation. Your choices can shape a future where sustainability, ethics, and responsibility reign supreme, leaving an unforgettable mark on the world of fashion. By understanding how to differentiate genuinely sustainable fashion brands from greenwashing tactics, you can make informed choices that align with your values. Certifications, transparency, ethical supply chains, natural materials, longevity, and social responsibility are all vital aspects to consider. By prioritizing these factors and demanding accountability from brands, we can collectively promote a more sustainable and responsible fashion future.
Every thoughtful purchase is a step towards a greener and more ethical industry. Let's support genuine sustainable fashion brands and pave the way for a better world through our fashion choices!