Zalando wins the greenwashing awards
News From the world
31 october '22
Reading time: 5 minutes
Berlin-based fashion retailer Zalando receives an award for greenwashing in 2022. Let’s find out why.
Words by Rebecca Pollard
Picture by Fashion Network
This year Zalando was given the award for greenwashing by the Norwegian Consumer’s Association. This decision was made due to the retailer’s claims to sustainability on their website where it is not present.
What is greenwashing?
Greenwashing is when a company markets themselves as sustainable when in reality, they do more to appear that way than actually minimising their environmental impact. This marketing strategy is done to gain support from consumers that wish to protect the planet. However, supporting these types of businesses end up being particularly harmful to the planet as they allow for real sustainable businesses to get lost in a sea of greenwashing companies.
Zalando boasts sustainability
Zalando is a Berlin-based clothes and accessories retailer with over 44.5 million customers. Since 2015, the company has marketed themselves as sustainable with strategies such as their “do.MORE” strategy launched in 2019 that promised customers their purchases would be carbon neutral, involve less packaging, ensure ethical standards, and embody a more circular approach to business. On the company website they even write “we support fashion that is produced, consumed and sold in a responsible manner. We are convinced that this commitment will pay off for us all in the long run.”
Picture by Parker Burchfield
Zalando wins greenwashing awards
Surprisingly, this year the Norwegian Consumer’s Association found Zalando’s sustainability claims to be quite false. This was due to sustainability filters on the Zalando website that did not match up with actual sustainable products. Jury member and head of consumer policy at the association, Gunstein Instefjord, said “If you, as a consumer, want to buy the most sustainable sweater at Zalando, it is paradoxical that the more sustainability goals you filter, the more products appear as alternatives. Obviously it should be the other way around.” The association as a whole decided that misleading filters such as this can have a part in obscuring the ecological challenges of the fashion industry.
Picture by Inno3
So what happens now?
In response to these allegations, Zalando announced that they intend to remove this misleading filter immediately. They offered that it would be replaced with information about a product’s specific sustainability characteristics, such as organic materials, recycled materials, and natural ingredients.