What is greenwashing?
Many fast-fashion companies use a method called greenwashing to falsely market their brand, policies, and products as 'environmentally friendly' in order to convince consumers they practice sustainably and adhere to climate action, when in actual fact they are engaging in immoral and environmentally damaging activities. For example, this could be by manufacturing goods through slave labour so they can lower labour costs and overall price in return for a rapid turnover and higher volume of goods.
Kourtney Kardashian and the fall of boohoo.com
You may not realise that your favourite brands such as the likes of Boohoo, engage in climate-damaging behaviour because of how much they plaster about their positive advocating for climate change. These cunning corporations have you wrapped around their finger with their lies. In recent affairs, Boohoo have been under major investigation for misleading customers of their apparent environmentally friendly practices. This became under scrutiny when millionaire and reality star Kourtney Kardashian made her debut as "sustainability ambassador", releasing a 46 piece collection made from 'recycled fibres'.
Slammed on social media, Boohoo were accused of greenwashing, pointed out by the public that in 2019 they were actually found to be underpaying UK factory workers: £3.50 an hour! Assuming the brand's audience would nod their heads in unison at the campaign, it in fact took a turn for the worst; the insult of human intelligence was evident.
"Boohoo was named 1 of the 2 most unsustainable brands in the UK. Despite profits of over £1 billion, the company pays its garment workers less than minimum wage, and refuses them toilet breaks. But don't worry because Kourtney Kardashian is their new sustainability ambassador!" - Zita
Canada goose: a climate change catastrophe
To hear greenwashing coming from online empire Boohoo may not come to everyone's surprise, however we've got to put our trust in some brands, right? Especially for high-end luxury apparel company Canada Goose, products are much less affordable for most of the working class, and so to purchase an item may come as a liberty to them. But what happens when a £500 garment you saved up for your birthday has now become one of the most climate-destructing products in the clothing industry? World leading novelty Canada Goose were finally struck down by PETA activists and supporters for horrific animal abuse. In particular, to make their famous fur trim on Canada Goose coats, they captured coyotes in their natural habitat using steel leg clamps, head-crushing and body gripping traps, or neck snares. This was only the start of their torture, from then the poor souls will be left for days dehydrated and starved until death. If this doesn't horrify you- I don't know what does.
It is understandable that most people may not be aware of this happening, which goes to show the lengths luxury brands take to keep it disguised. Not only does this show cowardice but to hush activists Canada Goose did not stop here. Providing the obvious evidence of animal abuse, the brand still pushed to play on consumer's guilt of their so called 'climate-positive change'. Tricking customers sense of obligation, Canada Goose' condescending claim that not buying fur will result in the economic hardship of indigenous people living in the far North, who depend on fur trade for their one survival. The disastrous idea to force them to sell their land for natural gas development contradicts Canada Goose' 'devotion' to the fur industry as we will see a wildlife population explosion- completely counteracting climate action for the environment.
How do we spot greenwashing?
There are many ways you can spot greenwashing. Firstly, check to see if a company is making bold claims, such as: 'lowest emissions, lowest fares' which are simply unrealistic. In addition to this, if you are unsure, research further these claims because it most likely has insufficient evidence to support it. Secondly, another obvious one is hidden information. Fashion brands are a staple for this, promoting clothes made from 'sustainable fabrics' when the rest of their clothing line are known for contributing climate damage. Thirdly, check if the product and its packaging are recyclable: there should be a recycle label on any material item to inform you whether you can recycle it or not. For example, companies have mislead customers by using greenwashing to advertise waste bags as biodegradable when they were actually found the opposite in landfills or incineration.
To know if a company is taking action against climate change, look for important factors:
"Supporting environmental protection, drive for environmental responsibility, green product experience, environmental friendliness of companies and social appeal."