The Greenwashing Game: How Influencers Profit from Pseudo-Sustainability

The Greenwashing Game: How Influencers Profit from Pseudo-Sustainability

Influencers and their role in perpetuating greenwashing practices

In today’s age of social media, influencers hold significant sway over consumer behavior and brand perception. As sustainability becomes an increasingly important issue, many brands are eager to align themselves with eco-friendly initiatives. However, a disturbing trend has emerged: the use of influencers to promote halfhearted environmental efforts, creating a smokescreen between the brand and public backlash. This practice, known as greenwashing, allows brands to capitalize on the popularity of sustainability without making substantial changes. In this article, we delve into the world of influencer marketing and explore how influencers profit from pseudo-sustainability.

The rise of influencer greenwashing

Greenwashing has become pervasive in the influencer marketing sphere. Brands like Boohoo and Shein have appointed influencers as ambassadors for their sustainability initiatives, despite their questionable environmental practices. This tactic not only helps brands gain attention for their eco-friendly claims but also shields them from public scrutiny. Influencers, in turn, benefit from associating themselves with environmental language while continuing to promote fast fashion products.

The eco-adjacent influencers

Many influencers claim to embrace sustainability but engage in performative acts of greenwashing. Prominent influencers like Reese Blutstein and Anna Newton have built their personal brands around sustainable fashion, advocating for vintage clothing and minimalism. However, they often collaborate with fast fashion giants like Zara and H&M, promoting their products and earning commissions through affiliate links. These influencers lure their followers with eco-friendly messaging, only to redirect them towards fast fashion brands.

Influencers creating their own fast fashion brands

Some influencers have taken greenwashing to the next level by launching their own fast fashion brands. Grace Beverley, owner of Tala, promotes her brand as sustainable and ethical, emphasizing the use of recycled materials. However, a closer look reveals that Tala’s products are only partially made from recycled materials, and their sustainability efforts are questionable. Despite this, Beverley heavily promotes her brand to her million-plus followers, blurring the lines between genuine sustainability and profit-driven greenwashing.

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The halfhearted approach to sustainability

Influencer-owned brands like Tala and Djerf Avenue adopt a halfhearted approach to sustainability. They claim to pursue sustainability but acknowledge the challenges associated with manufacturing processes. Their messaging often revolves around sustainability being a journey rather than a destination, allowing them to justify their less-than-eco-friendly practices. While these brands may be better than traditional fast fashion companies, they still profit from products that appear more sustainable than they truly are.


The symbiotic relationship between influencers and fast fashion perpetuates the cycle of consumption, hindering true sustainability. Influencers rely on constantly showcasing new products and services to maintain their audience’s attention, while sustainability requires a slower, more mindful approach to consumption. The greenwashing practices of influencers and their brands undermine genuine efforts to combat environmental degradation. As consumers, it is crucial to be aware of these deceptive tactics and demand greater transparency and accountability from both influencers and the brands they promote. Only then can we truly embrace sustainability and effect meaningful change.