You’re Being Greenwashed


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Table of Contents

Like a Dream

You and your girlfriends walk into a gorgeous store. There are racks and shelves stacked with calm muted colours and prints. The fabrics that are gently placed on the mannequins are flowy and a word comes to mind – earthy. That’s what this store is about. Earth mama vibes.

Earth Mama Vibes

They are selling flower crowns up near the cash register, there are dried flowers encased in mason jars, and there is even a bale of hay next to the trial rooms. The ad photographs they have of their models are posted on all the walls of the store. These tall, lithe, and usually white women are barefoot, with their feet covered in mud, walking through a forest or a field, and their hair strewn with flowers or vines. In fact, the entire store is draped in vines and there’s a topiary off greenery shading you from the harsh warehouse lights. You pick out a dress that you really like. It is lavender, your favorite colour. You try it on and it fits and feels perfect. You have a desire to check the label and the price. The tag is attached with drawstring and is made out of cardboard with an embossed leaf on it. There is a small quote above the not-so-cheap price “by nature, from nature”. You smile. You smile at your friends. *Snap*

Just because an item of clothing has the marketing appeal to make it look and feel natural and sustainable does not mean that is the case.

A Marketing Tactic

That was just a dream, and you have successfully been brainw- we mean greenwashed into thinking that what you are buying follows any sort of ethical standards. Just because an item of clothing has the marketing appeal to make it look and feel natural and sustainable does not mean that is the case. This is a common trope in marketing and has been used for many years. It’s not technically a lie, because everything comes from nature, however, a product that is ethically sourced will probably say that it is explicitly. It will pretty much be the first thing you know about. That is the beauty about having knowledge on your finger tips, literally accessible by your smartphone.

How Do We Spot Greenwashing?

There are many popular brands that you can think of that probably do this. One form for Greenwashing is to “donate” a portion of their profits for green charities. They most definitely must be donating as corporations generally are legally bound to some form of social responsibility, however, it really defeats the purpose when you could have just started out by being ethical and sustainable in the first place. Modern greenwashing is everywhere because it makes the consumer feel like they are doing something for the earth. A way to avoid it is to not fall for fancy gimmicks, and head straight to the price tag. If it doesn’t say it is ethically sourced, move on to the next store. And don’t creepily smile in a store by yourself, and then to your friends, it’s weird.

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