Zara’s Join Life Collection = greenwashing

by

Lauren Stiles

Excuse me. What?

July 25, 2021

Zara has a collection called “Join Life” that is made with more sustainable fabrics than their other clothing. These fabrics include what Zara calls “ecologically grown” cotton, TencelTM Lyocel which is made from wood pulp (claimed to be sustainably sourced), or recycled fabrics such as polyester. On the surface, it seems like a good effort from Zara. This is exactly what this corporation wants you to think.

Delving in further, it is clear that this collection serves as greenwashing. Though Zara claims to be using more sustainable fabrics, costumers are not provided with sufficient information about materials sourcing and production methods. Excuse me, what?? This information is extremely important and should be released. We need to know where each type of fabric is coming from, which materials and processes go into its production, who is making it, the conditions they work in, and how much they are paid for their labor.

Without such transparency, we are expected to just trust Zara’s word that their practices are sustainable. I am not inclined to do so considering their status as an enormous fast fashion brand with a history of labor exploitation.

As a fast fashion brand, Zara constantly releases huge amounts of new clothes and relies on cheap labor to do so. The workers that supply the skills and labor essential to this industry often work in unsafe conditions. This is unacceptable.

While reading Megan Clark’s article about Zara’s Join Life line, I found what she had to say in her Overall section to be quite impactful. She made the point that “without social justice across the supply chain, these eco-edit clothes cannot be considered sustainable.” Megan is completely right about this. Zara cannot just come out with a new “sustainable line” and expect us to forget about all of their unethical and environmentally damaging practices. This kind of greenwashing has to stop.

In order to improve upon their sustainability efforts, Zara needs to address a lot more issues than they do with this collection. Ethical labor needs to be a priority. Sustainable fabrics should be the only fabrics used across all collections, not just one. The carbon footprint of their factories and shipping methods needs to be heavily reduced. Clothing should be made to last and released less frequently. Waste from factories should be reduced and responsibly disposed of. Detailed plans for sustainable initiatives need to be released. Looking at this corporation as a whole, the Join Life collection is nowhere close to being enough in the pursuit of sustainability. Instead, it is a greenwashing tactic that should be recognized for what it is.

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