Why we hate to be accused of greenwashing.

What means greenwashing to you? We would say it is a company that is trying to look greener than it really is. A company that doesn’t use buzzwords like “sustainability” and “fair fashion” because they believe in them. But because they resonate well with their favorite target group: the millennials. Greenwashing also has an element of sneakiness to it. The company is trying to hide something. It is somehow trying to razzle dazzle you away from the bad things it is doing.

To give you some concrete examples: greenwashing is a company that switches to BCI cotton, because the 0,20 extra for organic cotton is “too expensive”. It is a fast fashion brand producing garments in Tencel, in the same questionable factories and under the same questionable conditions where they produce all their things. It is an online retailer that starts using the label “sustainable”, because it increases conversion rates. But at the same time is still burning overstock. In secret, because they know very well that burning is not okay.

In short: greenwashing is when the intention is not to make the most sustainable product in the most sustainable way. The intention is to sell you more stuff. Sustainability is added to the product and marketing mix, in hopes of triggering you to buy things. But wait, isn’t that what Honest Basics is doing as well?

We get accused of greenwashing for two main reasons. First of all because we produce in Bangladesh and not for example in Europe, it means we’re automatically involved in “sweat shops”: forced labour in horrible conditions. Secondly people say: prices are so low in comparison to other sustainable brands, there must be something shady going on. You can find our replies to these accusations here.

To us these accusations sting. Because it is the exact opposite of what we are trying to do. We’re not hiding anything, like so many others are clearly doing. We launched the brand to make a difference. A real difference, because we were in our previous careers actively involved in the practices which give the fast fashion industry such a horrible reputation.

We’re not here to dupe you. We didn’t call it Shady Basics. Or False Basics. Honesty is at the core of everything we do. We chose the name because it reminds us every day to be honest to ourselves. To the people in our supply chain. And to you, the customer. 

So if you don’t agree with our approach on sustainability: feel free to say it as loud as you want. But please don’t accuse us of greenwashing. We’re not hiding anything. And we’re here with the best intentions!