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Sustainable Lies, Greenwashing and Fast Fashion

The Planet is changing, and not for the better. Our own doing of emissions, the processes we take to make money and the general workings of the world have caused great harm to the Earth. Companies all over the world still proceed to use processes that create these problems. The emergence of schemes brought about by these same corporations makes it seem as if everyone is doing their best to help better the state of the Earth, and that the planet is in every large corporation's best interest. But are their intentions truthful, and do they really want what's best for our home? Are these schemes a scheme in themselves to create an illusion?

An introduction to climate change

Sustainability and climate change are two terms we have come to see more and more throughout the modern era and the 21st Century has witnessed leaps and bounds, made to protect and conserve the quality of the planet we call home. Fear, the threat of danger, might be seen as the product of the recent growth in awareness and concern for the state of Earth. The years from 2015 to 2021 were the warmest on record, Greenland's icecaps are melting at a rate of 270 billion tonnes a year, and greenhouse gases have increased by 45% from 1990 to 2019. Large displays of concern and protest have been shown and voiced recently, mainly aimed at large corporations and businesses that ignore the damage they are doing to the Earth. A big example is the 'Just Stop Oil' movement acting to influence the decision of the Government to allow new licensing for the development of new fossil fuels.

"The warnings about global warming have been extremely clear for a long time. We are facing a global climate crisis. It is deepening. We are entering a period of consequences" - AI Gore

Greenwashing and Fast Fashion

False impressions and misleading information are all elements of greenwashing. Big corporations around the world have created these false narratives to allude to their customers, as they make claims that their product is environmentally sound, and voice that their product is more friendly to our planet than it actually is. In hand with trying to promote their product to be something that it is not, large corporations use greenwashing to overshadow the company’s involvement in unethical and environmentally damaging processes through the implementation of misleading labels, hiding tradeoffs, and positive, healthy imagery. We know that there is a growing demand for companies to be more environmentally friendly in their sourcing, producing, and selling of products. Due to this corporations capitalize on greenwashing as an attempt to meet this social standard, to appear as if they care for the planet as a ploy to cover up their true intentions and processes.

H&M, Zara, and Uniqlo are some of the companies in the fashion industry that were caught greenwashing over the past years. These brands made considerable contributions to the huge amounts of textile waste from the clothing industry, as according to ReMake "80% of discarded textiles globally are incinerated or landfill-bound, with just 20% being reused or recycled". Fast fashion brands also have a nasty habit of promoting and advertising their green initiatives across all platforms, but unfortunately, the truth is that these ethical processes are a tiny part of their operations. In 2019 H&M launched its own line of ethical clothing named "Conscious" which claimed to use organic cotton and recycled polyester. This being false, showed that the 'line' was nothing but a marketing tactic to make the company appear more environmentally friendly stating to make its wearer "look and feel good".

The act of greenwashing made by these fast fashion, clothing companies don’t only damage the environment but other factors of social life, as well as the economy of local communities, as they deceive their customers into the false narrative they voice. Promoting these lies and the power that these large corporations have means that the population believes them. The public doesn't have the time or the power to research these companies and delve into their processes. People trusting what these companies propose means that the environmentally aware invest in these companies as they feel as though they are doing good for the planet, not knowing the truth of it all, and that they are further creating detriment to the Planet. This then takes away from small businesses, and ones that are truthful to their claims, resulting in the growth of those immoral, greenwashing companies.

We can see that Greenwashing is a deceitful and unethical process, as it misleads investors, consumers, and the general public. The act of hiding a company's true intentions behind lies to protect itself is cowardice and unethical, without mentioning the effect that those lies have on the environment, and the planet we call home. All this goes to show the common desire for profit over the planet in the modern era, the Earth continues to be exploited for money, and the greed of business and corporations are a driving force for the inevitable death of the world as we know it.


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