Greenwashing: Does Your Clothing Support True Sustainability?

What is greenwashing?  Regrettably, it’s not an eco-friendly way of cleaning clothes to help reduce mankind’s ecological footprint.  Rather, it’s a practice used globally by corporations to make themselves appear more environmentally friendly than they truly are by cloaking their actions in words like “sustainable” and “ethical.” 

With the impending climate crisis edging dangerously close, 66% of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products.  Sadly, as consumers grow more environmentally conscious, the greenwashing phenomenon has heightened.   

Brands have capitalized on this trend in order to boost sales, attempting to engage customers in their sustainability efforts, even as their core business model remains environmentally unstable.  Many promote themselves as eco-friendly while continuing to engage in fundamentally harmful practices at the systemic level, disguising the amount of environmental damage they are actually responsible for.  

The fashion industry, (in particular, fast fashion) is one of the prime perpetrators of greenwashing.  Fractured supply chains, trendy sustainability, and expected low prices, all contribute to the problem.  The truth is that despite claiming to “ethically produce” their products, there seems to be little to no regard for harmful pesticides or chemicals that end up in our water supply, microplastics that end up in our oceans, or the lives of laborers, who are often underpaid and overworked. 

At Poème, we encourage you to consider the environmental and societal impacts of the places you shop at and choose to buy only if the brands truly reflect practices of ethically-made goods, sustainability, and fair trade.  

Support clothing lines that use eco-friendly textiles such as linen, bamboo, tencel, hemp, and organic cotton.  Not only are these better for our planet, but they are also healthier for your body. Choose brands that are made under ethical conditions instead of exploiting the men, women, and children who produced them.  

A little research may be required but try to source clothing that is made in countries with fair labor laws.  

We are proud to say that our clothing is made through empowerment and not exploitation.  We work with a small, family-run manufacturer in Bali that has been around for more than 40 years. Every employee that helps produce our clothing receives above Indonesian industry-standard wages, 8-hour workdays, vacation time, and health insurance.  Each piece of clothing is handmade, unique, and made by an artisan empowered through a fair income in a country where unfair working conditions and poverty are the norm

With the harsh reality of greenwashing and climate change staring us in the face, practicing conscious shopping is more important than ever. You have more power than you might realize.  When you choose to shop responsibly, you are empowering workers all over the planet, and helping the earth and ecosystem thrive. That’s something to be proud of.