The pollution of the circular economy vocabulary

The pollution of the circular economy vocabulary

We believe that big brands are polluting the circular economy vocabulary

The circular economy has been praised for its ability to lower the environmental impact of the fashion industry. However, at hnst, we've observed circularity becoming the new frontier in the industry’s greenwashing efforts.

You can’t enter a store nowadays without being bombarded with sustainability and circularity claims. In every corner of your eye, you’ll see clothing made from recycled materials, labelled as being recyclable or resource-saving. 

Unfortunately, a new report by Changing Markets has labelled 59% of European fashion giants’ sustainability claims as unsubstantiated or misleading.[1]

Examples of brands misleading consumers include claims that synthetic products are recyclable when no such recycling technology exists, products being labelled as ‘sustainable’ or ‘responsible’ without supporting evidence, or when brands are not specific about the amount of recycled content included in their products.

We believe that this type of communication is polluting the circular economy vocabulary. As a result of this over- and misuse, terms such as recycled, recyclable or circular are slowly, but surely losing their meaning.

 

Circular but make it holistic

It’s important to add that we do encourage brands to embrace the circular economy as an alternative way of producing and consuming. However, it should be seen as a new way of doing things rather than a quick fix or marketing opportunity.

 Most importantly, the duality between people and planet should not be neglected. Today you can find clothing in store that is being labelled as circular. However still too often, the people who have made these pieces have not been fairly compensated for their work. Is that truly sustainable?

Read more about HNST or discover more HNST stories. 

 

[1] Source: http://changingmarkets.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/SyntheticsAnonymous_FinalWeb.pdf

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