The number of businesses looking for earth-friendly ways to promote their products and services is rapidly increasing. Companies are riding the sustainability wave, having in mind the contribution of the apparel industry to today’s environmental challenges and the collective need of rethinking textile production and consumption. They expect high-quality environmentally and socially responsible products from their merchandise suppliers.
Many manufacturers are committed to fostering eco-friendly practices and investing in environmentally sound yarns and garments. However, there are others who communicate false claims, trying to convince customers that their company is making positive environmental choices. In fact, they are advertising eco-benefits that go way beyond belief and are not even producing these products themselves. This common marketing ploy is called “greenwashing” and is designed to make products seem more earth-friendly than they actually are. With that being said, we would like to give you a few tips on detecting greenwashing behavior and choosing the suppliers you can trust.
1. Choose the right resources
You might think that finding out if a brand is truly sustainable might push you way out of your comfort zone. You might even think it would involve too much effort. You couldn’t be further from the truth. For instance, you can make sure if a certain supplier really has a GOTS certificate by checking in the Global Organic Textile Standard database.
The answer you are looking for is just several clicks away. All you have to do is type the company’s name and the product category or the field and country of operation. For example, if you type out Kingly and socks in the product category, you will find that we are certified. In fact, we are 1 of only 52 sock-knitting producers worldwide. You can find us in the GOTS database here.
This 4-letter abbreviation stands for eco-friendly, organic production, underpinned by socially responsible and ethical employment – from fair wages to health and safety in production and in supply chains. GOTS-certified products make a difference as they not only have a better impact on the environment but also guarantee the well-being of our employees.
2. Ask the company to explain the eco-practices
“Sustainable” and “eco-friendly” have become buzzwords used by many brands as a part of their marketing strategy. If you want to make sure they are truly sustainable, it would never hurt to ask them for more information on the sustainable practices they are implementing. If they are a truly sustainable company, they would gladly tell you more about their impact on the environment.
We have to admit that many challenge us on our claim that we are zero-waste. “What do you do with the offcuts from the sock knitting production?”. Of course, this is a reasonable question. We tell them that based on our commitment to a better, cleaner environment, and in line with our ISO 14001 Environmental Policy, at Kingly, waste fibers are retained. The leftover fibers find a new life as stuffing for printed pillowcases. Learn more about our upcoming eco-garment production here.
3. Make sure claims are verified by a third party
Make an attempt to check on the company’s website or social media channels if its claims are being verified by a third-party organization. Try to think about their practices from a holistic point of view. It is not enough to just declare that a product is non-toxic, eco-friendly, green, all-natural, earth-friendly, non-toxic, plant-based, pure, raw, organic, or sustainably made. You need to find independent research you can rely on when you make a decision to choose this or that supplier.
BCome’s Cradle to Gate sustainability platform verifies Kingly’s sustainability efforts. This third-party evaluator empowers textile and apparel businesses to build responsible supply chains, guarantee transparency and bring it to the final customer. For instance, our GOTS organic cotton socks have achieved an “Honours” score – the highest sustainability rank given by BCome. Discover more about our sustainability index and savings calculator here.
Many opportunists have figured out that “going green” sells and are communicating false claims. They are monetizing on the shift in customers’ behavior who are willing to pay more for truly eco-friendly items. Greenwashing confuses consumers and distracts them from making the right choices. By understanding how to detect its false claims, you can hold companies accountable. This will bring the manufacturing industry itself to a higher standard. All of us have an obligation to hold corporations accountable by calling out greenwashing and investing in products that leave a better environmental footprint.
Find out why our practices were awarded the Socially Responsible Strategic Management Award 2022 here. Don’t hesitate to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for more info about our green products.