How to spot greenwashing in fashion

Recently you might have heard the term greenwashing? So, what is greenwashing, you might be wondering. Greenwashing (also often called the ‘green sheen’) is a marketing and PR technique used by corporations. It is a deceptive technique to manipulate consumers into thinking the company is more sustainable than they really are.

Greenwashing falsely presents an image of being sustainable or eco-friendly. This marketing style makes it more difficult to shop responsibly and really know what’s going on behind the scenes. We’re going to talk about some signs of greenwashing you can know to look out for.

One of the biggest giveaways is when a company seems sustainable but when you go to do the research, you can’t find any facts. When the means of production, or a company's ethics on these issues are hard to find, this is usually for a reason. They don’t want you to find it.

Another big trick is companies releasing exclusive ‘eco-friendly’ ranges. Convincing you that they clearly care, and are making the effort to change- when if that was really the case they wouldn’t be selling their other fast fashion lines.

Some more subtle signs of greenwashing are when they only prioritise one aspect of sustainability. For example using 100% natural material, but still having the piece manufactured in a sweatshop. This can make it seem sustainable at first glance because you’re just looking at what the item is made from.

There are ways to avoid being sucked in by greenwashing, though! Firstly, look past the imagery and marketing, and look for facts, figures and methods of production. If you do this, and struggle to find anything, try using the website ‘goodonyou’ which allows you to search a company and tell you more about how sustainable they are. There are a lot of small things you can try and take note of, like certifications and reviews too.

Written by Abby Ashenhurst

Digital content executive @ Elemntz