Greenwashing is one of those buzzwords that is strongly associated with the sustainability movement. For many, this term raises doubts, and therefore we present it here for clarity. On the consumer side, there is still room for improvement in the fashion kingdom. Because conscious consumption and the future of the circular economy are more utopia than reality. For them to be truly true, for us to find the way we want (and can) to live comfortably and consciously.
However, it is a task that we can only master as one. But it is not so easy, because the way to reach it is difficult to be sustained by non-bright and non-authentic, also known as greenness. Moreover, the word sustainability itself is very elastic and has different connotations.
What exactly is weed and why is it used?
The term refers to marketing people or companies. In green-washing, something can be described or presented as sustainable when it is not. Thus, keywords like “eco-friendly”, “sustainable”, “economically responsible” and more are mentioned because the topic is trending and popular with consumers. The green color of the worlds, earth tones and neutral expressions are also visual media that can be sustainable (best example: the green leafy logo of the hydrocarbon company BP). And this is because we associate language and colors with certain attributes, no matter how much they do justice to the image or not. In order that brands or people may be perceived by us as more sustainable than they are in themselves, these devices are used among others;
- Euphemism: Instead of taking responsibility for actions and finding solutions, the difficulty of euphemism or sustainability can be triggered by words (eg “ecological”, “green”, “beautiful”).
- Hide it: With the help of widely disseminated sustainability, you hide the fact that unethical or environmentally harmful practices are taking place elsewhere.
- Lack of action: What is sustainable is communicated, but no action is taken or concrete, measurable and corrective actions are taken.
This type of marketing strategy is often used when communicating with a wide audience. The reason is that society demands more and more that great people and brands speak about certain issues that are currently relevant. Often controversially labeled as an eco-hoax or scam, the real issue is circulating, as consumers are now questioning the credibility of green campaigns, statement T-shirts and box collections clearly and socially online. After all, how can real companies be great if they only deal with one part or group of products? But it is not simple, because there is much involved in this, as well as many other things.
Greenwashing being a sustainability dilemma
It is clear to all that the act requires more than a short period of time. In fact, all our activities have an impact on the environment, but the world cannot be saved overnight, because we must look for possible solutions that improve and restore the existing systems without destroying them. This requires moderation: with us, but also with large companies that are not and cannot necessarily be agile in their decisions due to internationalization and complex product life cycles. That is not to say that it does not mean that the rhetoric goes together and stands up to illegal acts and economic disputes.
However, destroying the culture (that is, pulling the media to exit and boycott individuals or companies) is not the solution. It usually only changes something in a short time or, in the worst case, nothing. Furthermore, every large production implies an incredible number of individual suppliers who are affected by all the decisions. Which raises the question of whether the blue label does not represent efforts or small steps in the right direction. What can be seen again in some cases: the inequality of power: the main nations are euphoric with the ‘ecotrap’, but the real ones are in a completely different place. For example, there are large industrialized nations that emit the most CO2, but most of the developed world suffers from the resulting droughts and famines. Always focus on sustainable models. For now, this can only be achieved through different approaches, with subcategories such as ‘vegan’ or ‘ethical’.
What can consumers do?
But what can users do in their daily lives to recognize the weed and move something in the right direction? Of course, it is clear to limit consumption and buy nothing else, but such behavior is so utopian that living in a perfect world would be sustainable from one day to the next. Consumerism is an integral part of our economic structures, and it is a form of both art and cultural good. If we look around, there are innovative authors in this field who develop models that do not mean nothing, but help to act consciously. Good examples of this are buying second hand, renting clothes, looking for other materials, as well as upcycling and second life examples. ‘Buy less’. Choose well. Make it last’, which was also propagated by fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.
7 Tips to Identify Greenwashing and Removing
1. Question and prove
Basically, don’t rely solely on word of mouth ads and campaigns. So search and ask yourself: What does the page say? Are the measures defined? After all, energy is less about words and more about numbers, facts and facts, and what percentage of materials (in detail and overall) are truly sustainable.
2. Define personal focus and aspirations
Your approach to sustainability is also important. Because, in addition to the question of truth and transparency, it also always comes down to economic conditions: not everyone can always afford “organic”.
But what is often not known about the greens is because we don’t know any better. It helps to read about it (and you’re welcome: great job), to ask questions, and to talk to others. For example, projects such as ‘Who made my clothes?’ “Fashion Revolution”, which advocates transparency in the fashion industry, has good principles.
4. Certifications and materials
Another point to understand the maintenance of clothes is the composition of the materials and the evidence. However, the fact that they put organic cotton somewhere does not necessarily mean that it is: often only a small percentage that occupies the whole part of this denomination. Alternative materials are usually no less environmentally friendly if they are made of petroleum or plastic, for example. Some great certifications that can help are GOTS (Global Organic Cotton Standards), Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) or Cradle to Cradle.
5. Think local and regional
The closer products are made to their environment, the more certain it can be known from the exact procedure and what material is in use. In addition, direct contact can lead to ambiguities. And this saves CO2.
6. Holistic sustainability and circular economy
For those who value holistic sustainability, it means knowing what a company is doing in every aspect of its life cycle. Are there recycling forms, repair services or upcyclical projects? Again, website searches will give clarity.
Last but not least, take action. It can be by sending e-mails, making petitions, joining an NGO or supporting a non-profit organization (about the issue).