What is greenwashing?
Updated: May 7, 2022
Hi everyone ♡
Today I wanted to write a little bit about greenwashing. I feel like many people have heard about it, but might not know what it means exactly. As climate change is becoming more and more of a threat, I feel like an increasing amount of consumers wants to make a switch to more environmentally friendly products in order to help protect the environment. Or at least do less harm. Greenwashing can make it a lot more difficult to know if a brand is actually eco-friendly or not.
Greenwashing basically means that companies are portraying themselves to consumers as more environmentally friendly than they really are. An example of this is H&M with their Conscious Collection, that is made of more environmentally friendly textiles, and their in-store recycle bins. These initiatives make it seem that the brand cares about the environment by producing less (toxic) waste. However, while they give the impression that all donated clothes are being recycled, in reality not even half the amount donated actually gets recycled. It's also not easy to turn old clothes into new ones, since many garments are made of blended fibres. Also fabrics such as wool and cotton actually diminish in quality when they're being recycled. The reason why H&M has most likely decided to focus on recycling is because it's an easy way to appear more sustainable, while not having to change their production model. While it also seems great that they have a collection with eco-friendly fabrics, the whole concept of fast fashion and its mass production of clothes is not, and will not, ever be sustainable. The fast fashion industry in general is a major source of water pollution, due to textile dyeing, and water shortage, due to the large amount of water that's needed to produce a garment. Many clothes that are donated end up in landfills and get burned, because they're not good enough to sell. Not to mention the fact that most, if not all, of these garments are being produced by people that are not even earning a living wage and have to endure unsafe working conditions.
Unfortunately, as is the case with H&M and many others, it's not always immediately clear whether brands are actually eco-friendly or not. Before you buy something, try to do some research on the brand to see if they are actually as sustainable as they claim to be. It might be a bit more work, but a garment bought from a company that does care about the planet and its workers definitely feels a lot better :)
I'm no expert on the matter, but I hope that this has been helpful!
What are your thoughts on greenwashing?