What is Greenwashing?

What is Greenwashing?

It is fashionable to be green, which is why several companies are throwing around promises that they are climate-friendly, CO2-neutral and sustainable. Some of them lie, which is why "greenwashing" has become a popular term. In this article, we will go into details about what greenwashing actually is and how you can spot it.


What is greenwashing?

Greenwashing is when a company's marketing and communications do not match the actual action. It can, for example, be when a company promises to be CO2 neutral. But in reality, their climate-friendly activity is ineffective or insignificant compared to the negative impact the company has on the environment.

Companies use words like "natural", "sustainable", "environmentally friendly", "CO2-neutral" interchangeably. But these words are meaningless if there is no action behind them.

Greenwashing is a problem, and in several countries the government has had to take action. In both Denmark and Sweden, the Marketing Act states that companies' marketing must be consistent with the scope of the company's environmental or ethical initiatives. The marketing must not be exaggerated.


Popularity leads to overuse

But how did this happen? As people begins to demand that companies needs to be green, companies have tried to take advantage of it. Products and marketing campaigns are constantly trying to take advantage of the increased consumer interest in the environment.

Investments in green projects have also become more popular - and fortunately so! The future of our planet depends on investments and initiatives that make a difference for our planet. However, some companies have seen an opportunity to make money from initiatives that either don't exist or that make no difference. This results in an increase in the number of so-called "environmental projects" that have no positive impact at all. It has become so controversial that 'Friend of the Earth' now awards an annual greenwashing award. And it's really not an award to be proud of!

Why is Greenwashing so bad?

Greenwashing is bad for many reasons. The most obvious reason is that companies claim that they contribute positively to the climate, but do absolutely nothing to minimize their climate footprint.

And because of these companies, Consumers are becoming more insecure and suspicious. Because which companies are telling the truth and which companies are lying about being green? This confusion and distrust means that some companies that are genuinely green prefer to avoid talking about their good work for the planet for fear of being accused of greenwashing. This is called greenhusing.

Another word is: scopewashing. Scopewashing is when companies report the extent of their emissions in a misleading way. They may report their direct emissions from factories, but do not report indirect emissions such as from energy, transport and the materials of their production. As consumers, we must question motives and try to read between the lines. Even if it is difficult. Greenwashing can be difficult to spot because companies often hide the information. Therefore, we may be forced to google our way to the truth. And not all of us have the time or energy to do that. And the companies know it.


How you can spot greenwashing

Greenwashing is not easy to spot, but it is important to try. And as soon as you are sure which companies are actually making a difference, you can support them and ignore the greenwashers. The first step is simple but important - do your research. Read and research several websites, Social Media, and read the company's sustainability reports. If what you read does not match their facts, then it is probably better to choose another company.

Here are some good questions to ask yourself:

  • Does it sound too good to be true?
  • Is your intuition telling you that something feels wrong?
  • Are company claims about the environment not specific?
  • Is there scientific evidence for the claims?
  • Can you verify the information?
  • Are there trusted certificates?

What else do you have to watch out for? Many companies add some green in their logos, graphics and images. Try to read beyond branding. If a company's communication suggests that they are environmentally friendly, it does not always mean that they are.


How we work at Future of Fashion

We are a digital fashion brand, and therefore we are careful with how we communicate. Our approach to sustainable material research and zero waste production contributes to the products we create. We know that greenwashing makes it difficult for companies like us that really wants to make a difference. That is why we are transparent in everything we do. Our supply chain is fully transparent and we contribute to the environment by investing in sustainable solutions.