Let's start with some reflections and highlights from the last three months of 2021.
“However ambitious, fashion’s environmental efforts are all for naught, say critics, if the industry doesn’t also address its overproduction problem, which they say is the underlying driver of its mammoth carbon, water and waste footprints.” - Vogue Business, Fashion’s sustainability agenda: Where to start
One of our favourite highlights from Q2, 2021 was launching Freya, our first Made To Order collection. We recognised our contribution to one of fashion’s biggest problems – waste via overproduction. With continually evolving demand, we saw we were sitting on more stock than our consciences could handle as a sustainable brand. So, we took action to work towards changing our business model in order to create less waste by launching our Made To Order collection, Freya.
Deforestation & Leather Choices
The fashion industry is complicit in the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest, another reason why we are passionately obsessed with LENZING™ ECOVERO™ and continue to explore conscious fibre choices that are better for our people and the planet.
“For viscose, which has been associated with heavy deforestation, brands can start making the switch to sources of viscose that are made from recycled clothing or food waste, which uses 90 per cent less water, 75 per cent less energy and greener chemistry than forest based viscose, notes Rycroft.”
We launched two new belts made from 100% LWG certified leather. Learn more about Leather Working Groups traceability efforts for combating deforestation in the leather industry here.
Greenwashing, what does it mean?
As climate change becomes an undebatable mainstream issue, brands are going to do everything in their power to ensure people continue to shop with them. This can be a good thing, meaning brands change their strategies in order to meet consumer demand by creating ethical products. On the flip side it can also mean marketing and product team will do whatever they can to keep up with consumer sustainability preferences on a surface level. This means offering little to no substance underneath the flashy products, ads, and marketing.
This is where the term greenwashing comes in.
Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company's products are more environmentally sound. Greenwashing is considered an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company's products are environmentally friendly. – Investopedia
Some of the biggest brands are the worst culprits of greenwashing behaviour and it isn’t just the fashion industry. There are no regulations in the beauty industry for naming your brand with terms like organic, clean, eco, etc. For example, if the brand name is ‘Simple’ and the look and feel is earthy with leaves in the logo, it makes sense to assume this is an eco-friendly or clean brand. More often than not, when you look at the ingredients, the branding is creating an impression of ‘ethical and healthy’ but the products are full of nasty chemicals.
Well, the same is for the fashion industry.
Fast-fashion brands are some of the worst culprits, hopping on the sustainability bandwagon in order to keep profits growing without truly offering sustainable or ethical products.
Changing Markets Foundation found that, “Ninety-six percent of claims that H&M made to promote Conscious were misleading and fake. Instead of their clothing being produced from 100% organic cotton, only 20% of it actually was organic cotton because “it wouldn’t have the same quality.” Under Conscious’ section on H&M’s website, it never stated where the materials were sourced.” — Sydney Race, The Central Trend, Companies are lying to us by greenwashing their products
Changing Markets Foundation also revealed in their report that of the brands who made sustainability claims in their products, 60% of these big brand’s sustainability claims were false or unsubstantiated. Some of the brands included in this study were; Asos, Boohoo, Forever 21, George at Asda, Gucci, H&M, Louis Vuitton, Marks & Spencer (M&S), Uniqlo, Walmart, Zalando and Zara.
We know we’re not perfect, but reporting each quarter on our efforts is a step towards transparency and a more ethical fashion industry.
Here’s a snapshot of our reduced environmental impact this quarter…