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Greenwashing: Is It Ethical?

If you’re addicted to online shopping like us, you’ve definitely seen the recent push for sustainability with fast fashion brands. Chances are when you go on websites like Shein, Zara, and H&M, you see buzz terms like “recycled fabric,” and “fair wages.” These terms make fast fashion brands sound like sunshine and rainbows, but is it all just BS?

Greenwashing is a form of messaging spin used by PR professionals that convince the public that an organization's products are environmentally friendly. As trends change quicker with social media, this PR tactic has become more common.

Take Shein for example, who has been busted time and time again for unethical wages and clothing made with dangerous chemicals. After sh*t hit the fan and they started getting exposed on every social media platform, they added a Sustainability & Social Impact page to their website. The page makes bold claims, but we call BS. The brand continuously gets called out by institutions such as Health Canada, which recalled a children's jacket that had dangerous toxins. We never doubt the power of a great PR team, but if you’re putting LEAD in your clothes, GOOD LUCK!

"I know it looks cute, but this is actually evil. The levels of lead in this trench coat are 20 times higher than the allowable limit for kids' jewelry. The allowable limit was put in place in order to safeguard kids' health," said an environmental chemist and professor at the University of Toronto.

A CHILDREN's jacket?? Yeah, that is pretty evil… and you can’t greenwash that.

So WTF… how do you know if you’re shopping from a brand that's greenwashing? We get it, it's overwhelming. No one wants to do research just to buy a cute crop top. Here are a few tips for the next time you’re doing some shopping.

  • If they’re making claims with no proof, don't believe it. Just because the website says “eco-friendly” and uses a bunch of buzzwords together doesn’t mean anything! It takes two seconds to vet on Google if a brand is BS-ing you.

  • IGNORE THE GREEN LOGOS…this is an easy trick that actually tends to fool people sometimes. The aesthetic of the pretty green logo is nice, but pause before buying that cute $5 top that they claim is made with recycled materials.

  • IGNORE celebrity endorsements… Just because your favorite Instagram influencer is wearing the brand doesn’t mean it’s ethical! It doesn’t matter if you trust the influencer… they’re getting paid big bucks to wear that lead-infused crop top.

Is greenwashing unethical or is it just another part of the job of being a publicist? Let us know!

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