The way businesses communicate about their attempts to be more sustainable is changing this year, as the industry reacts to the escalating crackdown on greenwashing.
Last year, authorities and consumers warned large companies that they face reputational, legal, and financial dangers if they can't back up their promises of ecologically and socially responsible behavior.
This year, authorities should give more clarity and consensus on how brands should quantify their environmental impacts and make legitimate sustainability claims, and the industry should work more to enhance the underlying data quality.
The statements made by businesses must be "based in truth, not merely a marketing tactic," according to Ayesha Barenblat, founder, and CEO of the ethical fashion organization Remake.
However, there is a risk that heightened scrutiny of green claims would cause firms to conceal their sustainability efforts, a practice known as greenhushing, possibly undoing years of work to make the sector more open and responsible.
"Greenhushing is a step backward in all of our gains," said Whitney McGuire, co-founder of the intersectional climate advocacy organization Sustainable Brooklyn.