What is it?
The term "Green Washing" was coined back in the 1980's when corporations were making outrageous sustainability claims to conceal their controversial environmental standards. This has trickled through to the present day with a real impact on consumers. Green Washing is now more elaborate and concealed than ever and often much harder to detect.
Green Washing is when brands use eco-language, earthy packaging and imagery to market themselves appearing more environmentally conscious than they actually are. They choose words that suggest and relate to eco-conscious practice's such as "clean", "natural", "organic", "green", "sustainable" to promote themselves as ethical and eco-conscious companies. Upon closer investigation these brands are not actually aligned with their green claims and are doing very little to reduce their social and environmental impact.
Green washing in the fashion industry can be seen when brands present their collections as fully sustainable, but in actual fact they are only sustainable in one aspect of their production. For example, cotton isn't environmentally friendly (even though it is natural and will biodegrade) if it doesn't come for a responsible organic supplier. The production of cotton involves many chemical heavy processes and a huge amount of water resulting in allot of waste. For the consumer - these kinds of claims are hard to verify if there is no transparency.
Green washing is not always intentional (although majority of it is - especially in big corporations).
How to detect green washing?
Do your homework. If you are into living a conscious lifestyle, be conscious. Find out what "sustainability" entails. Follow the bread crumbs, research, investigate, don't just accept the information that is presented to you. Reading labels is a quick way to get allot of information on fibre content and location of production.
When trying to decipher how sustainable or ethical a brand is, ask yourself:
1. How many of their products are sustainable/ethical?
If the answer is less than half then the brand is not really an eco-conscious brand. Every product should be green in some way, or they should be diligently working hard to be more eco friendly in their production.
2. What is their story? Why do they care?
Do they genuinely seem to care about the environment? Are they consistent and honest? Do their sustainability claims align with their products?
3. How transparent are they with information on their production, materials, policies?
Can you easily find information about their production? What materials are they using and how are they taking steps to be more environmentally conscious. What are the facts? Watch out for vague information and look for actionable steps. Find trusted sources that report on the brands to further verify their claims.
What can you do?
Don't be afraid to ask questions if something is unclear, contact the brand. Don't automatically trust words/slogans and packaging - dive deeper, do your research.
For more information on our sustainability + ethics policies click here
At Arraei we recognise that we still have a long way to go as sustainability is an on-going mission. We are always finding new ways to better our practices, become more eco friendly and update our sustainability + ethics policies. If you feel you have any information for us to help us on our mission to harmonise humanity and the planet - please send us a mail on our contact page.
Love and Light x