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Analysis: Fashion Industry Efforts To Verify Sustainability Make ‘Greenwashing’ Easier

Environmental certification programs that claim to verify the sustainability of fashion brands actually facilitate “greenwashing” for the apparel industry, according to a recent report by environmental advocacy organization Changing Markets Foundation. 

The organization, which was founded in 2015 and is based in the Netherlands, seeks to drive change toward a more sustainable economy by exposing what it feels are irresponsible corporate practices. Its analysis of voluntary efforts designed to reduce fashion’s growing environmental footprint found the programs led to increased pollution instead, and are helping to cement the industry’s reliance on fossil fuels.

“Waste increases, utilization of clothes decreases, and reliance on fossil fuels increases,” said George Harding-Rolls, a campaign manager at Changing Markets and lead author of the report. “Yet, these schemes continue to exist and say that sustainable fashion is just around the corner. This is actually preventing us from taking the more systemic action that we need, such as more regulation and legislation.”