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LONDON – Stories around fashion greenwashing and misleading sustainability claims were the most read by a considerable distance on Apparel Insider’s social media channels during the past 12-months. As 2021 draws to a close, we have drawn up a list of our Top 5 most popular stories shared on Linkedin – easily our most popular social media channel – ranking stories by number of views and engagements (comments and likes).

4 out of our top 5 most viewed stories on LinkedIn related to greenwashing and/or misleading sustainability claims by fashion. Indeed, further analysis found 6 out of our top 10 stories relate to greenwashing.

These statistics broadly correspond to click-throughs on the Apparel Insider website and suggest greenwashing is an area of huge interest, and source of growing irritation if the comments on our stories are anything to go by.

Number 1: Our most viewed story on Linkedin, by some considerable distance, was our story on a laboratory test which indicated that virgin polyester is being substituted for its recycled counterpart in fashion supply chains. At the time of writing, this LinkedIn post has had more than 55,000 views and 761 engagements.

Number 2: In second place, with a shade over 30,000 views and 829 engagements, is our story on a study which found 59 per cent of sustainability claims by fashion brands were found by UK’s authorities to be greenwashing. Governments in the UK, Netherlands and other EU countries are clamping down heavily on greenwashing, and will be doing more to enforce existing advertising regulations in 2022. Change cannot come soon enough.

Number 3: The third most popular story with 27,000 views and 72 engagements was a poll we ran on fashion and climate targets. We asked what a reasonable climate target for fashion is – 2030, 2040 or 2050. 89 per cent of respondents suggested 2030 is the time-frame brands and retailers should be working towards, which seems pretty conclusive in our eyes. Retailers thinking they can kick this can down the road for another 30 years, take note.

Number 4: With 24,400 views and 716 engagements was our story on the Dutch Government issuing fines for greenwashing fashion brands and retailers. The Dutch and UK authorities are collaborating on this issue, adopting a similar policy of putting fashion notice about misleading claims in 2021 before following up with more checks and enforcement in 2022. Seems a reasonable approach to us, and perhaps other governments such as Germany and France will adopt a similar tack.

Number 5: Our fifth most popular story (17,700 views, 388 engagements) was our story on a new film which claims fashion has hijacked the concept of circularity. We’ve written about this issue many times, our view always being that the concept of circularity and the way the phrase has been jumped on by PR teams is leading to greenwashing and the false impression that recycling is much more prevalent than is really the case.

More on this in our next magazine.

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