This guide highlights how to talk about your sustainability attributes in your product descriptions and how to avoid greenwashing.
Our goal is to arm consumers with accurate, transparent information about the products they are purchasing. To achieve this, we are tightening our requirements for product descriptions in line with The Green Claims Code. We require all our designers to use specific language when making sustainability claims and avoid vague generalisations, such as “this is a sustainable product' with no evidence to back up the claim.
Below are explainers that provide examples of how we expect you to describe and market your collection and products.
Avoid vague terminology
Such as: “we are eco-conscious," "we use sustainable fabrics," and "we are a sustainable brand." Instead, aim to provide specific attributes and goals as to what REDUCES the negative impact of your products. If you can provide quantifiable figures to support your statements, this is even better.
Avoid Misleading Information
Avoid using claims which can be misleading to customers, try to explain in plain English, and avoid marketing jargon for sustainability claims.
For example, advertising your products as 'vegan' just because they are not naturally sourced from an animal product (e.g a cotton t-shirt), is not really an impactful claim; all cotton t-shirts are vegan.
Sustainability is a process that is forever evolving, it is not an end goal. There is no such thing as a 100% sustainable product as every item produced has some level of impact and uses resources.
Examples of best practices:
- “We use GOTS-certified organic cotton, which is better for the environment as it uses fewer chemicals and water than conventional cotton."
- “Our factories use 70% renewable energy and we have a closed loop chemical management procedure in place which means no toxic chemicals enter the environment.”
- '"This dress was made entirely by an artisan collective in Jaipur, India where the workers are paid a living wage and the factory is compliant with environmental and safety regulations."
Education around sustainability is critical, so explaining the importance behind a fabric or dye choice, or the social impact of the garment is important, and empowers customers to make a more informed decision with your piece. Make sure you're clear on the sustainable origin of certain animal byproducts, such as feathers or leather.
Example: “We’re working toward ensuring that 100% of our materials are organic by 2025.” Or “We’re looking to improve x, y, z.”
Charity: If you work with a charity please state the charity and what percentage of profits you donate.
Care & Info Section
Entire FIBRE composition of the piece
Please refer to the materials used in that specific piece, not in the entire collection.
Example: Dress is 30% organic cotton and 70% linen, the lining is 100% recycled polyester (Econyl), and the lace trim is 100% nylon.
How to best ensure the longevity of the product.
- Wash temperature
- Ironing instructions
- Encouraging line drying over tumble driers
- Care instructions for more specialty products, such as cashmere, wool, or silk garments
List any third-party certifications you may have e.g. GOTS, Global Recycled Standard, B-Corp, Fairtrade etc. Again only list certifications such as GOTS & GRS on items that are relevant, e.g. do not say you’re GOTS certified on items made from polyester.
Dyes & Finishes
Refer to any dyes or finishes applied to the product. Highlighting if they’re AZO free, natural, or synthetic.
Please be clear on if your product is genuinely biodegradable, as some finishes and dyes prohibit this even for natural fabrics. If they are, under what conditions will it biodegrade? For example, does it need a professional facility, or will it biodegrade in ordinary garden compost?
Do you use recycled and/or plastic-free packaging? Can it be recycled?
These are some additional points for beauty brands to include in their product descriptions, however, the above points for fashion and home still do apply, please ensure you have read them carefully and incorporated them into your profile.
How to use
Ensure you give a detailed description of how to use the product and the benefits so that customers can ensure they’re getting the best use out of the product.
Please state if you are cruelty free and if you are Leaping Bunny certified.
Please state if your product is vegan and if your products are certified with the vegan trademark.
Sourcing & Production
Where are your ingredients sourced? Where are your products made?
Example: “Our products are made in our lab in Kent, UK with our jojoba oil and almond oil sourced from farmer’s cooperatives in Jaipur, India”.
Ensure you have a full ingredients list, stating what % of ingredients are from a natural origin and which are synthetic. Please state what % of your ingredients are organic and if they are certified organic.
Example: Aqua *, Rosa Damascena Flower Water */**, Citrus Aurantium Amara Flower Water */**, Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil */**, Cetearyl Alcohol *, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride *, Glycerin *, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter */**, Prunus Domestica Seed Oil */**, Cetearyl Glucoside *, Panthenol, Glyceryl Stearate SE *, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Tocopherol *, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil *, Squalane *, Maltodextrin *, Hydrogenated Lecithin *, Nasturtium Officinale Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract *, Equisetum Arvense Extract */**, Urtica Dioica Leaf Extract */**, Sodium Chloride *, Carrageenan *, Sodium Phytate *, Michelia Alba Flower Oil *, Ectoin *, Bisabolol *, Sodium Hydroxide, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Citric Acid *, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Xanthan Gum *, Alcohol *, Linalool ***, Benzyl Alcohol ***
* Ingredients from natural origin ( 90,0 %)
** Ingredients from organic agricultural source ( 45,0 %)
*** Components from natural essential oils