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last time I talked about how to determine whether a brand is ethical or not. if the company is ethical, you can bet that will be a large part of their brand messaging. if you can’t find any details about how their clothing is made, there’s a good chance it’s not zero waste, ethical, or utilizing renewable energy.
that being said, beware of greenwashing, ‘the practice of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental benefits of a product, service, technology or company practice.’ so many companies use greenwashing to appear more environmentally friendly while hiding destructive business practices. for example, H&M has pledged to become 100% ‘climate positive’ by 2040 and use 100% recycled or sustainable materials by 2030, while the Global Labor Justice reports abuse of female garment workers in factories that supply their stores. they also have not delivered on their 2013 promise of paying their 850,000 workers a living wage by 2018 (via Clean Clothes Campaign.) whether it’s H&M or another fast fashion brand, if the clothing is cheap, mass produced and low quality, how can they possibly be ethical? and just because something isn’t cheap doesn’t mean it’s ethical!
here are a few more tools to help you avoid being greenwashed:
• the Good on You app and website let you search for a brand’s environmental impact, labor policies, and animal-friendly considerations. it makes recommendations of sustainable and ethical brands in different categories, and their website has tons of guides and tips, as well as a brand directory.
• DoneGood's website is similar and allows you to shop by your values. the DoneGood browser extension pops up in the corner of your browser when you’re shopping to alert you whether or not the brand site you’re on is sustainable and/or ethical, and links to alternatives if it’s not.
• you can also check if a brand is a part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition which requires its members to quantify their supply chains’ impact on the environment.
check out the full post on Instagram for a list of ethical brands to look into!
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