Goin’ Green | Stayin’ GreenAmber Solomon
February 9, 2021
By Amber Solomon, GOEX Market Advocate
Sustainability is a growing trend in our everyday lives. This is great news for humanity and for the planet. Over the last decade, we have all made great strides to protect the world we inhabit and have become more aware that our actions have a huge impact. From rethinking how we shop to exploring alternative fuels, the human race is on an eco friendly roll.
Going green can be challenging, though. Changing habits requires time, planning, education, and resources. In a world where instant results and cutting corners are the social norm, knowing who’s actually walking the green path can be tricky. Enter greenwashing.
What is “greenwashing”?
Greenwashing is a term used to describe a form of marketing in which green values and green marketing are fraudulently used to persuade consumers that an organization’s products, aims and policies are environmentally conscious. It’s downright deceptive. It is the responsibility of an organization to foster an honest, healthy relationship with the consumer. By participating in greenwashing, an organization is acknowledging the values of consumers but takes no action towards embracing those values.
Types of greenwashing:
- Environmental Imagery – This is when an organization uses images such as leaves, animals, recycle icons, etc. on their packaging with little or no insight to the why or how.
- Irrelevant/Exaggerated Claims and Misleading Labels – This is when an organization uses phrasing like “100% natural” or “contains no chemicals” when in reality these claims are self-created and self-declared. These products might not contain certain chemicals or manufactured a certain way because those chemicals or practices might actually be illegal making the claim immaterial. One of the biggest offenders is “Made from Recycled Materials” – many brands market products this way regardless of how small the percentage of recycled content.
- Hidden Trade Offs – This is where an organization claims that they’re being environmentally conscious but they are doing so by exploitative means. A company may be using 100% recycled products but are they recycling those products through sustainable means?
How can organizations get away with this?
The truth of the matter is that monitoring truth and transparency in advertising is still an evolving matter. There are many groups worldwide that are beginning to encourage critical analysis of advertising practices. In the meantime, it’s up to us to keep our eyes open to what really is and what is just a superficial selling point.
How to identify truly sustainable products?
- Look beyond the label – really dig into how a product is made, what it’s made of, and at what cost.
- Look for proof of green practices – can 3rd party nonprofits or advocacy groups (like the Fair Trade Federation) vouch for their efforts? Is the company completely transparent about how they conduct business? Do they answer your questions in a timely, direct manner?
- Educate yourself – Know what sustainability means and know your values. Does the organization you’re supporting support your values and ethics?
How GOEX walks the walk
Being a sustainable enterprise is not something that you can scratch off of your to-do list. It’s a continued, conscious effort that requires constant introspection and full transparency. In 2020, we introduced buttons, labels, drawcords, twill tape and packaging made from recycled plastic. We also introduced a line of garments created from remnant fabric diverting waste from landfills – our ladies rib tee, rib tank and rib cardigan are all created from scrap fabric! In 2021, we added zippers to the assortment of components using recycled plastics. We will also continue to expand our assortment of garments made of eco-triblend fabric diverting even more plastic from landfills. We are also reusing boxes that originate in Haiti – be sure to look for a sticker indicating your box is on its second journey! We are proud to walk the walk and encourage you to hold us accountable.
Our continued efforts to do good is what differentiates us from most apparel companies. Over the past decade, our core story has remained the same – we exist to create and sustain fair wage jobs that empower employees to care for their families and to make the planet a healthier place for the next generation. In short? Feel good. Do good.
Follow the story.
We strive to be bold with our words and represent the ideals we believe. If you like what we stand for, we want to share more! Stay in the loop by signing up to receive our newsletters and following us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.