Don’t get duped by greenwashing
Our world becomes more connected and more global every day. Chances are that most of our food has travelled a long distance to reach us, and our fashion clothes were stitched together in places we can’t find on the map. Eco-conscious, free of forced labour, green, organic, farm grown, locally owned, fair trade, and sweatshop-free. Using these words and phrases make us feel good about our purchases. To monitor and observe consumer goods for these standards on a global scale, and sometimes even much closer to home is not easy.
Nowadays we can buy any product, at any time, all around the world. We sometimes might forget that seasonal products like fruits need to grow elsewhere and travel a long way to make this possible.
Based on information we get and things we know, we consider where and how to make our purchases. The way we spend our money make companies move their attitude and with this ethical shopping power consumers all around the world can force businesses to take their responsibility.
Recent studies show that people rather buy goods and services from companies that improve the social and environmental impact of their business. This trend is moving upwards. Just ask a friend or relative and most will underline that they want more than just a product or a good service. The paradox is that companies know and most likely want to fulfill this desire to make money. That is called greenwashing.
We are conscious and wary consumers but we must protect ourselves. Big brands spend a lot of money to show their social and environmetal practises from which a lot is fake news and only needed to greenwash the label. There are clear examples of how these brands are misleading us by false label clothing. In USA, J.C. Penney, Nordstrom and Bed, Bath and Beyond got fined after it became clear that some of their clothing was made of rayon instead of bamboo. Also remember the promotion stunt of H&M telling to recycle 1000 tonnes of clothing. Well H&M produces this amount of 1000 tonnes every 2 days and it takes 12 years to recycle. So….
In daily life we find the most obvious way of greenwashing in the color of the packaging. Ethical and eco-wise colors like beige, brown and green color the stores landscape, online and offline. But it doesn’t mean anything while there is no regulation for it.
Greenwashing can be found everywhere. From food to beauty, to clothing. Sometimes we just need to consider and answer the question where a products comes from before it ends in our home.
Clothing products will have a lot of questions.
Becoming a conscious clothing consumer means asking questions and seeking answers. Not only for the product but also what else the company is doing to be eco-conscious and take care of its people.
Clothing production has a lot of different steps and you might consider following questions before buying that trendy sweater at your number 1 store.
-What fabrics were used to produce this piece of clothing?
-Where did the fabric come from?
-Where was the sweater put together?
-Does the clothing piece have independent quality standards?
-Does the brand have any certification?
-Does the brand commit to international labour standards?
-How transparent are they. Can one see the figures and results?
-Do they answer critical questions from media and customers?
If you really want to dig into this matter then following sites give you an insight of how eco-friendly and socially-conscious brands are:
What to look for on clothing labels.
There are many logos and certifications for clothing labels. But not always it’s clear what it needs to get certification. Be aware that there are many look-a-like logos with the only purpose to sell the product. Still needs a lot of work from the consumer to uncover the truth.
A great start to make a conscious purchase is a product with the Fair Trade logo. Strict guidelines and regulation too has clothing with ‘organic cotton’ or ‘GOTS-Global Organic Textile Standard’ label.