When shopping, it is hard to identify which brands are sustainable and which are greenwashing. At Dahlia we strive to promote transparency and honesty. Without either of these things, there is no way to tell if a brand is legitimately sustainable or if they are lying.
With the movement towards sustainable fashion and conscious consumerism, more and more brands are looking to label certain lines or their brand as sustainable. This can be seen within H&M. Within recent years, they created a line of clothing called the "Conscious Collection". They claimed that these clothes diverted waste, reduced water usage, and were made out of recycled fabrics.
Unfortunately, there is not a third-party source that can verify these claims, allowing companies to flat-out lie about their sustainability practices. This was seen recently within H&M.
Last July, Chelsea Commodore, an American marketing student, filed a lawsuit against H&M for promoting misinformation about their conscious collection. H&M claimed that their line was created with "the planet in mind", but many others disagree. H&M had used the Higg Index, a sustainability index for the fashion and textile industry, to share their sustainability data. After the lawsuit, H&M removed the Higg Index scoring from their website. H&M used to flaunt these scores on their site, claiming that they were increasing sustainability in their products.
After further review of these scores, it seemed that H&M "accidentally" left out a very important part of their Higg Index scores, the negative signs. They were essentially misreporting everything. For ex
ample, if a dress was rated a -40 on water consumption by the Higg Index, H&M would say they decreased water use by 40%, when in reality they had increased water usage by 40%. All of the positive numbers on their site that were supposedly reflecting their sustainability scores were in fact reporting the opposite. H&M played this crucial error off as a "technical" mistake, but it is hard to believe.
This has been a big wake up call for consumers. H&M is one of the biggest retailers in the fashion industry, but now it is clear how prevalent greenwashing really is. The biggest issue is that this is not on the consumer. It seemed that H&M had included data and was transparent with their sustainability measures, but they were misleading. This highlights the issues within the industry and sustainability measuring. It is important that companies take notice of this issue and move to develop a more comprehensive review of sustainability reporting and a way to hold brands accountable for their pollution.