I only very recently learnt the meaning of ‘greenwashing’, so I completely understand the confusion going on in your head right now.
The exact definition of ‘greenwashing’, as provided after a quick google search, is;
Greenwashing is the practice of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental benefits of a product, service, technology or company practice.www.whatis.com
Consumer manipulation is nothing new. In fact, I would put money on shopping never having existed without it. Since the dawn of the shopping channel, people have been guided, held by the hand and led to the latest must-have purchases. But as popularity increased, so did the competition.
So what does this have to do with ‘greenwashing’ you ask?
There has been a massive (and fabulous) shift towards more eco-conscious and ethically produced fashion and although slow-fashion is by no means new, a lot of people are starting to see the light in the dark corners of the fast-fashion world and are not liking what they see.
With so many people becoming more aware of the environment and their individual impact, companies are beginning to shake.
Shake it up, I meant shake it up.
So companies are re-branding, re-thinking their actions and the effect their actions have on environment.
Except, in most cases, it isn’t their actions that are changing, it is their descriptions, their advertising and a small portion of their actions.
Before I started writing this, I decided I wasn’t going to name names or point fingers for a number of reasons. I don’t believe that these brands deserve recognition or require any more coverage but I do believe that you, as consumers, have the right to the truth.
Just yesterday, someone alerted me to the ‘ASOS Responsible Edit‘.
Giving you the confidence to shop with both sustainability and style in mind, our responsible edit is your one-stop home for all the environmentally conscious clothing, accessories and living items at ASOS.ASOS / Description
I’m going to be completely honest with you here.
Not even a year ago, I would have read that statement and thought, “yes, shopping that wont harm the environment”, because that is exactly what that description is supposed to make you think.
That is greenwashing.
Though ASOS actually have implemented legislation that mean the company isn’t the worst brand in the world in terms of environmental impact or un-ethically produced clothing, it is still rated “not good enough” on the Good On You app and that is enough for me.
The mass productions of clothing, the stocking of over 850 brands and the lack of traceable information on products are all signs that tell me the company is not doing enough as a fast-fashion brand to reduce its impact on the environment and strapping ‘responsible’ on your tagline certainly doesn’t mean that, now, you are.
ASOS aren’t the only brand to greenwash their consumers. H&M, Missguided, Primark and don’t get me started on ‘Boohoo Sustainable’.
Boohoo, another front runner in the world of ‘wear it once and throw it away’, launched a recycled t-shirt collection (a few years ago mind you, but I’m not over it, so it’s still relevant). These t-shirts cost a very reasonable £10, factoring in the shipping, the cost of making and the fair wage given to the people who made it, I’m sure.
I really didn’t want to mention the names of the brands responsible for misleading their customers, but I do think it is important that they are held accountable.
So, lets talk about greenwashing.
Yes, these brands have taken our trust, our want for change and our money in a way that is not right. Yes, they have used sheer manipulation to gain popularity but I can’t help but see the positives in this.
These companies are globally renowned and they’re trying to change.
Because of us. Because of the pressure we are putting on them and because of our want for change. Our purses matter to them but its our purse and we have the choice to support the companies that we believe in, the honest ones.
Because we now know the truth.