April’s Bad Case of Greenwashing

April’s Bad Case of Greenwashing

Is Earth Day becoming the new Black Friday?

April is deemed Earth Month, the time to step up for our planet, bring awareness to real issues facing our environment, and celebrate the communities at the frontlines of the solutions. However, with social media and fast fashion culture, mainstream retailers have started to turn April into a marketing ploy.

How ironic is it that on Earth Day, consumers are being encouraged to shop when we are trying to promote a behavior of less consumption? With the common behaviors of greenwashing amongst fast fashion brands, I wouldn’t be surprised if your email inbox has received an influx of marketing emails pushing you to shop for new products.

Profit and the planet have had a hard time coexisting as brands continue to push empty sustainability claims. But these false claims aren’t going unnoticed in the media as fast fashion lawsuits are publicized. Thanks to the European Commission’s published draft of “new rules intended to stamp out fluffy and misleading eco-marketing of products including clothing and cosmetics,” companies are getting called out for their environmental credentials or lack thereof.

As the EU’s proposed rules are still making their way through the legislative process, The UK and the US are following suit with their investigations and lawsuits on misleading marketing.

Even if you are unaware of a greenwashing moment in your life, we have all experienced it before. It’s as simple as being told on a poster in the store that you are purchasing something eco-friendly when the tag tells an entirely different story. Greenwashing is frustrating and destroys business-to-consumer relationships. In the future, it can lead our consumer demographics to disregard all sustainability claims when some brands and designers are actually in good standing with our Earth.

Found in Business of Fashion, George Harding-Rolls, campaign manager at environmental campaign group Changing Markets Foundation, says, “It seems so entirely cynical to use Earth Day in any way to sell new products.”

Companies can’t deny that their consumers are becoming sensitive to their greenwashing and are starting to see through the marketing, buzzwords, and false claims. With step-by-step guides to spot greenwashing from publications like the sustainably centered fashion magazine, Luméra, consumers are gaining the confidence to trust their research.

For the month that officially jumps us into spring filled with lots of green, we are thinking a little less greenwashing and a little more green hushing. Would it be so crazy for brands to save themselves the eye-rolling and unfollows and use Earth Day to share a message of not shopping?

“Do something else to support activists and legislators doing the work,” says Erin Allweiss, co- founder of communications firm No.29. “Use your platform to elevate what is happening.”

-As always, elevate your wardrobe with respected fashion and embrace the shift in style