Is sustainable and ethical fashion possible? How to combat greenwashing through certification.

·  Friend of the Earth emphasises the importance of verification amidst the trend of greenwashing

·  WSO Sustainable & Ethical Showroom during the Milan fashion week, from the 19th until 28th of February

·  WSO Ethical and Model Agency and Academy

The undesirable sides of the fashion industry, the misuse of resources, land contamination, and social injustice have all been widely documented in the media, but what exactly has been done?

Although progress is apparent with the slow fashion movement that brought ethical fashion shows in Paris, New York, and London, pervasive challenges vividly remain as seen with the Rana Plaza textile factory disaster that killed 1,129 workers just 8 years ago. And despite the emergence of sustainable fashion lines to swing increasingly concerned consumers, hesitancy remains with numerous greenwashing controversies surrounding major fashion brands, creating distrust in the community, and hampering overall progress in ethical fashion.


 “The commercial fashion industry accounts for up to 10% of global carbon emissions, equivalent to all flight and shipping combined”

Friend of the Earth, fostering a sustainable trend

Friend of the Earth recently launched its sustainable fashion certification standard to combat the emergence of greenwashing in the industry, and to contribute to the sustainable fashion movement by validating the claims of fashion companies through traceability of their production processes.

The certification offers the highest degree of supply-chain transparency through rigorous auditing procedures, orchestrated by internationally accredited auditing bodies. By employing years of relevant expertise through the authenticating of sustainable agricultural products, Friend of the Earth is equipped with demonstrated practice capable to credibly assess fashion companies’ ethical claims.


Fast Fashion, the damaging trend

The idea of fashion has not always resembled an obsession of novelty. Older generations attached intrinsic importance to clothes, treating fabrics as unique pieces of artisanship, sentimental symbolisms, and passing the cherished garments down family lines.  Contemporary ideas however have vastly transgressed, where garments are no longer inherited treasures but resemble disposable, single-use pieces of hedonism.

“When we put on our clothes, we may forget we’re wearing the products of cotton plants, flax, sheep skins, and so forth. We wear agriculture, in essence”, Paolo Bray, Director of Friend of the Earth


“100 billion pieces of clothing are produced annually”

The sustainable fashion movement has garnered momentum towards transforming our perceptions of clothing through conscious consumption, emphasizing longevity in usage, reuse, and recycling, and extends to promoting the production of garments using environmentally friendly fabrics.


Friend of the Earth: Sustainable Fashion Standard  

There are currently 12 fashion brands from 4 continents that have collaborated with Friend of the Earth to contribute to meaningful change in the industry.

Two Brazilian companies, Dona Rufina, and Carolina Bortolini, have both passed audits for Friend of the Earth sustainable fashion certification. They have jointly set a precedent by opting for alternative materials rather conventional synthetics, with Dona Rufina exploring the biodegradable raw wood felt and Carolina Bortolina washing with natural dyes.

Several of the brands have taken the necessary steps that have ensured sustainable efforts in the production of their garments and social accountability of their workers, while the others will undergo audit for Friend of the Earth certification for a range of their products in 2022.

9 fashion brands will be showcasing a range of their garments at WSO’s sustainable & ethical showroom, taking place at the same time of the Milan week of fashion: Carolina Bartolini, CQ Corporate Fashion GmbH, Crina, Dona Rufina, Elemente Clemente, Kazo, KW Manufacturing, Miclott and Rico Bracco.


 “25% of total pesticides used worldwide are used on cotton crops”

The auditing procedures verify compliance with Friend of the Earth’s comprehensive sustainability requirements that ensure: the protection of farmed landscapes, displayed energy, waste, and water sustainable management (imperative in the resource-intensive industry), and the highest degree of social responsibility in the workplace. The fashion standard also requires companies to use at least 50% recycled fibres in production, and 100% recycled materials in the case of using synthetic fibres.


From Sustainable garments to the runway: WSO Ethical Model Agency & Academy

To maintain a holistic approach to sustainable fashion, the World Sustainability Organization launched the ethical model’s academy WSO Models (, initiated to combat pervasive mistreatment and social injustice of models in the industry. The platform guarantees equal treatment of models, adhering to strict rules against discrimination and sexual harassment, respecting work rights and fostering support towards the slow fashion movement. 

WSO Models are also provided complimentary preliminary legal and nutritionist assistance by reaching out directly to:


Overall, the Friend of the Earth Fashion program aims to tangibly contribute to the slow fashion movement, by ensuring credibility, abating greenwashing, permitting informed consumer choice, and ultimately fostering the pathway towards achieving genuine sustainable fashion.

A FREE WEBINAR on Sustainable and Ethical fashion will be held by WSO on the 18th of February 2022 at 3PM Central European Time

Registration online available at:



For more information:

Share On Twitter