While the demand for green products has been met by a rise in supply, it's not... exactly how we'd want it. Take a look at how Zanteia, a new multi-brand store in Hong Kong, fights greenwashing with fashion and transparency.
From reducing single-use plastic to using cleaner skincare, to buying sustainable fashion, more and more people are looking towards a greener lifestyle. But, there’s a problem: fashion brands across the world are all jumping on the eco-friendly bandwagon – without actually putting effort into having sustainable materials, processes, and distribution. (C’mon – using green font colours and images of trees on a website don’t make a product green!) So, as consumers, how can we dodge the green sheen? Read on to find out how companies like Zanteia explore ways to help customers find what they’re looking for – without the fear of greenwashing.
What is greenwashing?
First things first: what even is greenwashing? Simply put, greenwashing is when brands use deceptive or misleading marketing tactics to appear more environmentally friendly than they really are. Fast fashion is especially notorious in this aspect, with up to 60% of green claims being misleading or downright inaccurate. Even in the luxury fashion space, despite the backlash and increased regulation, there continues to be false advertising about sustainable practices, or worse – having no information at all. On top of that, there’s unintentional greenwashing – when an overlooked part of a company’s value chain (most often the supply chain) has a negative environmental impact.
Although consumers have a great desire to live greener, they’re faced with misleading environmental claims or straight-up lies. Thus, it’s no surprise when a study found that a product “loses the aspects of loyalty, satisfaction, and benefits” when it’s caught greenwashing.
What is the solution to greenwashing?
So, is it all doom and gloom? Nah. Instead, the answer lies in transparency. Ensuring every part of a supply chain is monitored for sustainable components and practices allows both the business owner and the consumer to make better decisions, while allowing them to pinpoint areas that need to be enhanced. Companies are now adopting a “glass box brand” approach – all aspects of the business, from its personnel to its properties, are visible to the public, thereby supporting any assertions about sustainability. Consumers are not expecting perfection anyway! It’s enough just by being honest and open, addressing their problems, and promising to do better.
A business trying to do exactly that is Zanteia. Founded by Anastasia Grevstad on the principle of transparency, Zanteia aims to make ethically made and environmentally conscious products accessible for everyone. It also strives to help consumers avoid the increasingly complex marketing claims, and wade through the confusing greenwashing jargon.
Revolutionising green fashion in Hong Kong
Anastasia created Zanteia as a platform for women who believe in sustainable and ethical fashion practices, and to support their desire to express themselves through clothing. Rather than being judgemental or penalising others, she simply puts transparency at the forefront of her brand, allowing customers to buy comfortably without the guilt or fear of harming the environment. All the brands that wish to sell their products via Zanteia need to provide extensive background information, including data about its raw materials and manufacturing operations. They’re also required to publish a detailed, six-point transparency report outlining its mission; sustainable materials; ethical standards; being locally made; responsible packaging; and goals for improvement.
How did Anastasia begin her journey? In fact, she’s always been socially conscious, having previously worked on gender equality back in Oslo. While conversations around sustainability, ethical consumption, and even the UN reports were a lot more common in Scandinavia, she still faced the brunt of greenwashing during the pandemic. At the time, she wanted to help local sustainable and ethical brands, but she had to either pay a fortune for eco-friendly garments, or buy from brands that use the words “sustainable” or “ethical” without providing any facts or explanations. She was shocked at how much the word sustainability was “abused” for marketing purposes.
So, she decided to take matters into her own hands. Anastasia moved to Hong Kong in 2021, hoping to connect with companies that are doing good. She believes that the city has always been an exciting place to be an entrepreneur, especially in the green space. Thanks to Hong Kong’s “pay it forward” culture, Zanteia has been able to grow. Within just a year, Anastasia was able to hire a team, build a website, and officially launch her brand in November 2022.
“Zanteia provides a credible alternative to fast fashion,” Anastasia says. “We ensure that consumers have access to creative brands that are whole-heartedly committed to the provision of ethical and sustainable fashion.”
Through transparent practices, she’s been making a dent in the slow fashion space. But in the end, it’s down to the impact – it’s truly the start of a new way of consumption when customers begin to realise that they can make a difference, and have an option beyond fast fashion or greenwashed brands. Are you ready to make a change?