Are Your Fashion Items Really Sustainable? How To Spot Greenwashing And What To Do About It

SoulAdvisor | 02 Jul 2021

As sustainable fashion grows in popularity, words such as “ethical,” “eco-friendly” or “sustainable” are frequently seen on clothing labels. However, fashion brands do not have to prove these claims, and there is no accountability for brands to adhere to sustainable practices. 

According to an article in Vogue, when a company gives false or misleading information that their products are more environmentally friendly than they actually are, it is known as ‘greenwashing.’ This concept was first introduced in 1986 by environmentalist Jay Westervelt.

In this article, sustainable fashion industry leaders such as, Amina Razvi, executive director of Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and Harriet Vocking, chief brand officer at sustainability consultancy Eco-Age, provide their expert advice on ways to spot greenwashing in fashion and how to avoid buying into these misleading practices. 

1. Numbers speak louder than words 

Pay attention to the percentage of the product that is made from recycled materials. In addition, research whether brands have set out quantifiable goals to achieve sustainability. 

2. Natural does not imply eco-friendly 

Products that are natural may not be sourced in an environmentally-friendly way. For example, bamboo is a natural substance that can be grown with polluting substances such as pesticides and chemicals. 

3. Vegan fashion products can be bad for the planet too

Vegan fashion items that are alternatives to leather and fur are often made from oil, which can have damaging effects on the environment.

4. The production line matters

The supply chain is important, including the way fashion brands treat their factory workers. Look out for brands that are transparent about their supply chain and production line.

5. Look for certifications

Certifications are an excellent way to verify that the claims a brand is making are fair and true. 

6. Choose brands that follow a holistic approach to fashion 

According to Razvi, brands to invest in are those integrating sustainable practices into all facets of their business, from manufacturing to management. 

 

You and your relationship with our planet

At the end of the day, being an environmentally conscious and ethical consumer is about asking yourself what kind of relationship you really want with the planet. Do you want to be a more conscientious consumer? Do you want to develop a more connected relationship with the Earth? 
 

If you're seeking guidance to help you understand what this could mean in your daily life, consider a therapy like life coaching or Wayapa Wuurrk, which is about Earth connection.   

Or, for access to our full range of qualified complementary health practitioners or wellness therapists, please visit our therapies page. Search by symptom, therapy, or practitioner, to find a practitioner suited to your needs. Many of our practitioners offer both in-person or online consultations.

Read more on sustainable fashion from Your Sanctuary: 

Dress For The Planet

The Global Rebellion Of Ethical Fashion

References

6 Ways To Be Greenwashing Vigilant | Vogue

Amina Razvi | Sustainable Apparel Coalition

Harriet Vocking | Eco-Age

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