Fashion Faces Growing Greenwashing Scrutiny

Greenwashing is rampant in the fashion industry, but there is growing scrutiny on this unethical practice. Will it be enough to reduce the tide of discarded clothing and other textile items that are burned or dumped in the landfill? Will we really get to any kind of circular life cycle for fashion? There are encouraging signs, but we are far from reaching any kind of critical mass.


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Cary Sherburne is a well-known author, journalist and marketing consultant whose practice is focused on marketing communications strategies for the printing and publishing industries.

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It’s not just the fashion industry… not even 5 years ago I was working as QC at an unnamed printer in NYC – we had plenty of hang tag jobs that claimed all sorts of things about their commitment to the environment… and I can tell you that any of those claims about the tags/packaging were 100% false.

But worse yet: a certain little place here in NYC whose name starts with U and ends with N was a having a climate committee meeting and had us print their books for the event… and right on the inside front cover they claimed that the book was printed using soy-based ink and recycled paper. Which it was not.

If the UN lies about this stuff, what hope is there that anyone else is being honest? It’s become too much of a virtue signal / marketing tactic to ever take at face value these days. Being green can be expensive, lying has zero upfront cost.

What needs to happen is that “geenwashing” needs to become a major liability if the company can’t reasonably demonstrate that they are in fact being honest about their claims (or consumers need to stop falling for it and let companies know that “being green” is the expected default, not a selling point).

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