Q&A / FASHION

”Laws need to be updated for the greenwashing issue to disappear, the industry can’t correct this itself”

ANDREAS ÅHRMAN
On how the word ”sustainable” has become almost a cliché
March 29, 2021

Åhrman has previously worked at Nudie Jeans as global sales and marketing director for 10 years and CEO in North America, with base in NYC, for 3 years. He’s now the co-founder of AMENDI, a Swedish-American contemporary denim brand with a focus on transparency and traceability.

— We aim to intellectualize the denim luxury sector by including a Fabrication Facts tag on each garment, and a fully traceable supply chain that is accessible to customers through a custom-built online module, he tells.

The brand’s now partnered with the organization Politically In Fashion, lead by lawyer Hilary Jochmans, to update The Green guides in the US, initiated by The Federal Trade Commission.

— It was created in 1992 and is a legal framework to help businesses communicate their environmental claims in their marketing in a correct and fair way. They exist to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive claims, i.e. false advertising.

Why are you a part of this call?

— The Green Guides haven’t been updated since 2012 and do not prevent companies from stating false claims in terms of sustainability practices. As joint initiators with Politically In Fashion, we have so far been able to give context in media about the issue. Our goal is to update the Green guides so it prevents companies from making false claims in their marketing. Our next step is to draft a petition for Americans to sign so that we move forward with requests on updating parts of the Green Guides, tells Åhrman. 

— We found out about the ”greenwashing” issue when we started to compose our fabrication facts tags, the purpose of the tag is to give as much information as possible to consumers while shopping in-store or online. When we made research about regulations and laws on how and what could be stated on such tags we found that the regulations were very loose and that’s how we understood how easy it is — currently — to make false claims luring the consumer to think that they make conscious and smart environmental decision when buying certain products.

— We have just started to reach out to other brands, influencers, and industry-specific organizations, and the response has so far been very positive. If we can get the industry itself to become aware of the actual issue and to stand behind our mission we are certain that we can get changes to happen soon.

How would you describe the issue with greenwashing in the fashion industry?

— It’s pretty major. Today the word ”sustainable” means almost nothing and the actual brands that have a sincere agenda stop using the word since it’s almost a cliché. Instead, we see more and more directions towards transparency and in our case full traceability so that the consumer can make their own conclusions. But transparency without regulations is still not enough, laws need to be updated for the greenwashing issue to disappear, the industry can’t correct this itself, Åhrman states.

And what’s next for you on this matter?

— Our main focus for 2021 is to drive attention towards our campaign, Legislate Fashion, which aims to eliminate greenwashing, or at least make steps in that direction. Throughout the year, we will also continue to update our fabrication facts tags making sure we can offer even deeper information about our products. We will include also supplier facts listing each supplier, workers’ salaries, energy sources, and more. During fall we also hope to become fully circular by working with a global recycling network of clothing. We do not believe in trade-in programs where consumers ship their products long ways for brands to recycle them. We believe it’s much better if consumers can recycle locally and if they choose to do so we will offer them an incentive.

AMENDI’s fabrication facts tag
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