A few weeks ago we gave you some tips on how to set your brand sustainability goals for 2022, but how do you communicate them to your customers without overwhelming them or falling into the trap of greenwashing? Here are a few tips to get you started.
1 | Keep your sustainability message simple
What is your brand’s core sustainability message? Realistically, a million decisions go into your sustainability strategy and you cannot communicate all of those to your customers without getting them lost and confused. You can communicate your major pillars on a sustainability page on your website but choosing one big goal for your brand will allow your customers to champion your progress.
Is it eradicating slavery for garment workers, reducing plastic waste, or perhaps achieving 100% circularity for your fashion brand? Choose one and use that for your marketing across all channels. A great example of this is LA label Christy Dawn who clearly communicates their focus as ‘honoring mother earth’ and then goes on to list the ways it is doing this (use of deadstock fabric, organic cotton and natural dyes). Another example is A.BCH who defines their sustainability goal clearly as their commitment to circularity.
2 | Be a positive voice in the sustainability space
The social and environmental problems created by the fashion industry are significant. But instead of creating negative energy for your customers with scary statistics consider helping empower your customers with solutions by sharing what you are doing to combat these problems and let your brand be a positive voice in the sustainability story. Reformation does this brilliantly by framing their sustainability mission in upbeat language that empowers customers to feel like they are part of the solution.
3 | Be transparent about your sustainability progress
Don’t fall into the trap of greenwashing, be sure to back up all of your sustainability claims with evidence. Provide your customers access to information about your supply chain where you can. New Zealand label Maggie Marilyn is leading the way in this field with one of their clothing lines fully traceable from farm to finished garment. Details of where their fiber was grown, spun, woven, dyed and manufactured are all provided on their website. We realize that mapping your supply chain can be very difficult and that is why we are committed to making it easier for you. Consider sourcing from our platform of ethically certified factories (and mills soon to come!).
4 | Be honest about your sustainability shortcomings
It can be scary to set sustainability goals and be held accountable to them but doing something is better than doing nothing. Avoid the pit-fall of overpromising and under delivering by keeping your sustainability goals small, concrete and achievable. If you do fail to meet certain promises, be honest with your customers and let them know what steps you are taking to rectify the situation. Remember, honesty builds brand loyalty. Starting from a place of "We are not sustainable, but we are working on improving." Will always get your further with customers and your progress. Check out VEJA’s ‘limits’ page for a great example of this.
5 | Get Some Sustainability Credentials
A good way of communicating your sustainability credentials is through legitimate third party certification. Certification provides customers with the stamp of approval that your products and processes are indeed what you say they are. Kowtow does this well by making their Fairtrade certification clear on their website as well as informing customers that all its manufacturers are SA8000 certified. If you are unsure how to find an ethically certified factory or are unhappy with the ethical credentials of your current factories, we can help you by connecting you to our global database of ethically certified factories.
Communicating your sustainability efforts to your customers can be intimidating, but if you remember to keep it simple, positive and above all honest you will build trust in your brand and win fans.