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Your Guide to Greenwashing: Stay Informed and Make Sustainable Clothing Choices

Your Guide to Greenwashing: Stay Informed and Make Sustainable Clothing Choices

As fashion consumers start to become more environmentally conscious, many fashion businesses have responded by promoting sustainable clothing and practices. However, not all companies are genuinely committed to sustainability. Many brands turn to greenwashing which can be explained as misleading consumers into believing their clothing is more environmentally friendly than it is. Here’s how to spot greenwashing and make informed decisions:  


What is Greenwashing?

Greenwashing can be explained as the practice of making deceptive claims about the environmental benefits of a product, service, or company to appear more sustainable than they are. This can range from promoting misleading or false claims about the sustainability of clothing, other products, or the company’s operations, often without substantial evidence to back up these claims, to outright falsehoods intended to take advantage of the rising demand for sustainable products. 


Common Greenwashing Tactics

1. Vague or Undefined Claims 

Many businesses aiming to promote themselves as a sustainable brand tend to use popular buzzwords without substance. Terms like “green,” “eco-friendly,” or “natural” are often used without clear definitions or standards. It is crucial to always look for specific details that back up these claims. Usually, genuine claims are supported by certifications or in-depth descriptions of sustainable practices. For example, a clothing item labeled “all-natural” without specifying which materials are natural and their environmental impact is a clear display of greenwashing. 


2. No evidence 

A common form of greenwashing is when companies make statements that are not backed by credible, third-party certifications or evidence. For example, when a company promotes a clothing product claiming it to be “certified organic” without specifying the certification body. It is crucial to always look for specific certifications from recognized organizations, as these provide a layer of accountability and verification. Without such evidence, there's no guarantee that the clothing product meets the claimed standards, and it could be misleading to consumers who are trying to make environmentally responsible choices.  


3. Hidden Trade-Offs 

Disregarding larger impacts is what companies do to focus on one small green aspect of a clothing product while ignoring its larger environmental impact. An example of this would be when a company uses recycled packaging but sources raw materials unsustainably. To avoid this type of greenwashing consumers can look into the clothing product’s overall environmental footprint, including material sourcing, production processes, and end-of-life disposal. 


4. False and Misleading Labels 

This form of greenwashing is when companies use fake labels or create in-house certifications that appear official but lack legitimacy. An example of this can be when a clothing product displays a “green” seal that is not recognized by any reputable organization. In this case, it is important to check if the labels are from reputable organizations. Genuine certifications are usually recognizable and can be verified online. 

Keeping these tactics in mind and by keeping yourself educated and on guard, you can avoid falling for greenwashing and instead embrace businesses and clothing products that genuinely care about sustainability and eco-friendly practices. As for businesses aiming to become more sustainable, it is important to remember that it's not just about ads; it's about making a difference and being truthful. Especially in the time of rising environmental concerns, if businesses come together to root for fair fashion and a more sustainable future for the clothing industry in the UK, we can all make a difference. 


Buy Sustainable Clothing in the UK at The Revivas!

At the Revivas, we strive to support the sustainability claims of our brands with third-party certifications and evidence. All brands we have onboarded have obtained their third-party certifications to uphold their sustainability values. 

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