Greenwashing and Ways to Avoid it

You must have heard your favourite brands talking about going green, supporting the environment, being responsible, or something else along those lines. This has become a common talking point among trendsetters, especially in the fashion industry. Most luxury brands have showcased their "eco-friendly" step towards sustainability.

Greenwashing and Ways to Avoid it

We can’t help but ask: do they really mean what they say? Do they really aim to bring about positive change? Or is it all just a massive hoax? If it is, in technical terms this is called greenwashing, where consumers get hoodwinked almost daily with brands and their strategic marketing.

What is Greenwashing?

Greenwashing is the term used when a business claims for its services or products to be environmentally safe. However, they utilise a large part of their resources in marketing their “we are going green” campaign that they do not focus on bringing these eco-friendly measures into practice.

Companies have been using greenwashing techniques to trick buyers and potential consumers via interactive branding. They try to make their customers believe that by choosing the particular brand, buyers will be opting for a safer, healthier, and better option.

You might have observed that fashion brands use terms like “all-natural” or “100% organic material” or even “sustainably produced”. They might even add catchy taglines and visuals to enhance the effect of their marketing.

How to Evade Getting Greenwashed

Don’t fall for Branding

No business can affirm being “free from harmful substances” if they have been adding chemicals or using unfit raw materials. The best way to know whether a product is “all-natural” or not is to check the list of raw materials yourself. See if you find something sketchy in the mix.

Watch out for the ‘Green’ Packaging

Another trick that companies use is incorporating earthy and organic hues to their packaging or on tags. Usually, these colours trigger a sense of the product being eco-friendly. Since consumers are now seeing more organic and natural products around, they may opt not to cross-check. Back to point 1, read the label – always!

Stay Away from Shady Information

Checking the raw materials of products will give you a better idea of how credible a brand is. If a brand is not displaying particular information or if the data varies, then you definitely need to question them or change your brand preference altogether.

Put Your Sherlock Hat On

We live in a digital world where most businesses have websites that provide more information about their products and services. Before purchasing anything, make sure to do your online research. Read reviews on third-party websites and in online groups. There’s no better way to know about a brand than to hear directly from their existing customers.

Expectations Vs Reality Check

Just because the tag says ‘100% cotton’ doesn’t mean that it is an advantage; it is what, as a consumer, you expect to receive. By simply adding these phrases, brands can add a few bucks on the price tag. This is why reading the labels, researching, and staying aware is important.

What’s Our End Verdict?

With greenwashing techniques, fashion brands have expanded their “trendy empire” to newer boundaries. If you wish to avoid this deception, you must shift to more reliable and affordable substitutes in this fast-fashion world. Thrift stores are a good starting point and we are seeing its rise in the UAE. They are not just about scruffy interiors, thrift stores are now thriving with ethical fashion products.

With businesses like Thrift for Good, Inkahaani, Goshopia, and many more making an active effort to increase awareness about sustainable fashion, making a transition from fast fashion to ethical fashion is now easier than ever for the UAE residents.

When you refuse to give in to greenwashing, you push brands to start making genuine change. By opting into a circular economy, you are not only fulfilling your fashion desires but also supporting sustainable environmental development in the process.


Reem is the content executive at plasticfreeuae and the go-to source for everything sustainable in the UAE who strongly believes that mindsets can be changed through words.

We have one planet. It’s time we protect it.

plasticfree uae

join the movement