3 Ways to Avoid Greenwashing and know if a Brand is Truly Sustainable

A “good” amount of corporations, businesses and brands have begun to advertise eco-friendly, sustainable products and services in an effort to promote their awareness of their industry’s role in climate change. But not all is “good news”.

Did you know the term “greenwashing” topped headlines in August 2021 when the environmental activist, Greta Thunberg, called out the fashion industry for being part of the problem? She even dedicated a post on her social media from her Vogue cover to speak up on it! On her post, she writes: 

vogue greenswashing


“Many are making it look as if the fashion industry are starting to take responsibility, by spending fantasy amounts on campaigns where they portray themselves as ‘sustainable’, ‘ethical’, ‘green’, ‘climate neutral’ and ‘fair’” she wrote, “But let’s be clear: This is almost never anything but pure greenwashing. You cannot mass produce fashion or consume ‘sustainably’ as the world is shaped today. That is one of the many reasons why we will need a system change.”


Let's talk a bit about greenwashing. Do you know what it is? Greenwashing is when brands try to market themselves as eco-friendly and ethical to customers, but in reality they are causing harm to our environment! It’s becoming more popular as people are learning more about what goes behind the scenes in the fashion industry. Ugh I know, just when you thought brands were finally listening, you learn this! It’s not your fault though, it’s hard to tell whether a brand is being honest sometimes.

But of course, The Good Tee’s got your back! You deserve to know whether a brand you’re shopping from is being truthful or not. Here’s our list of tips to help you know if a brand is actually ethical so you can shop guilt free!

1. Learn about the company. What are their values? Mission? Story?

So you have a brand in mind and want to shop from them, but you’re not sure if they’re truly ethical. Before shopping from them, try looking around their website to see if you can find any information about them. Do they have an “about us” section? What kind of information do they put there? There are some companies that use the “about” section to greenwash readers, so make sure to look for brand transparency. Some things to look out for can be if they provide information about the material they use, their workers, factories, and supply chain. Another thing to look out for is to see what their values and mission are. It can tell you a lot about a brand and where they stand with sustainability. It also helps you see if they align with your own values.

Take The Good Tee for example. The “about us” page has everything you could be looking for. From our mission, values, to the founder’s story, The Good Tee has it all on one page. Full information about the supply chain is even easily found. It’s one click away and you get all the information. There’s full transparency over here! It is important to us to have easily accessible information. It helps to show accountability and that we’re truly an ethical brand and not just greenwashing good humans like you looking to shop sustainably!

tshirt supply chain2.  Check for certifications on their website

While you’re on a brand’s website searching for information, also try to check out if they have any certifications. Seeing certifications such as Fairtrade certified or Certified B-Corp is another way to help you identify a brand as sustainable and ethical. Certifications such as these help customers like you know when a brand is ethical. Like on The Good Tee, which has a page dedicated to the brand’s ethical supply chain, certifications can usually be found at the bottom of their website or even in their “about” section, so keep an eye out for them. 


A small thing to keep in mind though is that some smaller companies may not have these certifications even if they are the most sustainable! Certifications can be pricey, so make sure to still keep in mind their values and the amount of brand transparency that’s on their website!

fair trade tshirtsb corp tshirts

3. Use apps/websites like Good on You that tells you how sustainable a brand is

Okay, so looking around a website takes a bit of time and you don’t really wanna do all that, especially when there’s just so many brands out there. Don’t you wish there was an easy way where you can look a brand up to see how ethical they really are? Well, guess what. There’s an app made just for that! Good on You is good FOR you! Good on You is a website (or you can download it as an app on your phone for easy access) created by a group of campaigners, fashion professionals, scientists, writers, and developers that want to help drive change in the fashion industry. They have done the research for you already and by using expert analysis, they give each brand a score on how ethical they are. Isn’t it easy? All you have to do is search up a brand you’re interested in, and you’ll be able to see if they’re actually sustainable! They even categorize things for you to make it easier to discover ethical brands.

good on you tshirts

With the climate crisis slowly on the rise, we need to consider our consumption habits and how to change them. The things we buy and the services we use almost always have an effect on the environment. 

Trying to shop ethically when there’s so much greenwashing happening can honestly be difficult. But with these three tips, it’ll be easy for good humans like you to shop and find brands that aren’t tricking you!

Leave a comment below if you have your own tips for avoiding greenwashing or for shopping from ethical and sustainable brands! We would love to hear them.


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