Care labels provide consumer access to sustainability data at the touch of a button
Author: Kelly Cooper, Associate Director of Sustainability at PFI Fareast
Consumers don’t buy greenwashing
Technology savvy Generation Z are soon become the second-largest generation on the planet: Their well-informed purchasing decisions will determine the direction of the global fashion market. Removed from their purchasing remit are businesses with unethical practices and those who are greenwashing.
A 2021 survey conducted by First Insight found that “a whopping 62% of Generation Z prefer to buy from sustainable brands…and 73% (are) more willing to pay 10% or more for their sustainable goods.”
Communicating with consumers has radically shifted in recent months. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, brands are reshaping their marketing positions to include sustainability. A yearly research report conducted by the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network (ICPEN), checked over 500 corporate consumer goods sites across fashion and other commodities and found up to 40% of companies guilty of greenwashing.
Technology providing a bridge to actual sustainable advances
Clothing labels and hangtags once used solely for cost and care details are being used as a key tool to connect consumers with more transparent information about clothing value chains. QR codes attached to products can help consumers verify claims about environmental and ethical production at source, as well as trace products from origin to point of sale and share product journey details across a range of digital channels.
Figure 1: Purpose of the care label has shifted to provide interactive sustainability data for consumers
Carbon labels are the latest in the upcoming trend of marking products with environmental footprint and social compliance assurances. In an attempt to build a performance shoe with the lowest carbon footprint on the market, Adidas and Allbirds collaborated to launch a performance shoe with just 2.94kg CO2e per pair, less than half the carbon footprint calculated for similar shoes on the market. The footprint of each pair is stamped on the outsole of each shoe. The benefit to putting a product’s footprint in plain sight, as Allbirds say is “…will begin to force us to consider how the things we make (and buy) impact the planet. To hold ourselves, and each other, accountable.”
Figure 2: Carbon footprints stamped on performance shoes allows consumers to choose between more ethical purchases
Labels with accurate claims, which have been third-party verified can save consumers the hassel of researching before they buy. An all-important step towards meeting the demands of the wave of new consumers demanding increasing amounts of information about the impact of our wardrobe.
Adidas X Allbirds collaboration. Futercraft (2021). Available at: < https://www.allbirds.com/pages/allbirds-adidas-futurecraft-collaboration>
First Insight. THE STATE OF CONSUMER SPENDING: Gen Z Shoppers Demand Sustainable Retail (2020). Available at: https://bit.ly/3d6P0gz