We Are Looking Greener Every Day

For all of you out there, making a difference, your actions count. The latest ethical consumerism report reveals that we bought more sustainable clothing, re-used more clothes and bought more ethical cosmetics than ever before. Total sales in the ethical sector exceeded £2 billion for the first time. So much for the naysayers because it proves that #everylittlehelps. So where are we seeing the biggest differences?

Fashion, we love pre-loved

Generation Z are the driving force behind the trend for circularity, buying and selling pre-loved clothes via platforms such as Depop, Vinted, Facebook marketplace and Shpock.TikTok is a big contributor to the ethical shopping movement by spreading new ethical spending trends and we are loving it. According to Refinery, TikTok “gives a platform to everyone from vintage clothing store owners and mending experts to fashion sustainability experts”.

Equally, a recent report by UNiDAYS, surveying a panel of more than 18,000 Gen Z students about fashion trends, their fashion preferences, their opinion of retailers, sustainability, pricing and more, found that ‘nearly 68% (!) of the Gen Z generation demand that their clothes are manufactured to the highest ethical standards and 57% feel brands championing sustainability, equality and diversity are getting it right’. These are impressive numbers and Gen Z are clearly pushing the ‘green’ spending trend.

But watch out for greenwashing

Many leading fashion brands have been criticised for greenwashing, which is when brands claim clothes are sustainably made when, in truth, they’re not, or only very partially. In fact, this report shows that 60% of sustainability claims by UK and European fast fashion companies, including Zara and H&M, are unsubstantiated and misleading consumers. Livia Firth, co-founder of the Sustainability Consultancy Eco-Age, says that global brands have an “addiction to plastics” and that there is an “emptiness to many of their sustainability claims”. The report reveals how many fast fashion brands – some of our favourites too - are prolific users of fossil fuel-based fibres, which are unhealthy for us and for the planet, as they are totally indestructible and totally unrecyclable. We therefore need to be extra discerning when buying new clothes and look at what material they are made of.

And what about cosmetics

The cosmetic industry also saw a rise in the number of us actively trying to buy products that are ethically sourced and avoid animal testing. According to an AlixPartners survey, 18 to 34 year olds predominantly want beauty- and personal care products with natural or organic ingredients, that are sourced and manufactured following ethical and environmental standards. A trend which, according to Vogue, is becoming the new normal. They reported that ‘thanks to increased demands for brand transparency and non-animal testing, cruelty-free beauty is becoming the norm’. So, keep checking and pushing for change as brands are listening.

The clothing and beauty industries should adapt quickly and provide better supply-chain transparency, because Gen Z have jumped on the bandwagon of ethical spending in a big way, expanding the ‘green’ pound year on year to unprecedented levels today, because we do not only want to look good, but feel green (aka good) too.

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