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Throwing shade: this web plugin will make it easy to spot greenwashing online

Photography By Nick Francher, @continuous_creative
Published 08.11.21

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easy way to spot greenwashing when online shopping? Something that could tell you when a product, or brand, isn’t actually doing good for the environment – before it ends up in your cart.

Well, soon there will be. Introducing shADe: an anti-greenwashing web plugin that will help individuals make informed choices about who they shop with…and who they might want to avoid.

shADe is the creation of Shadey Club, an all-female collective with a shared desire to nudge people and businesses towards sustainability. Co-founders Jenny Hu, Sille Eva Bertelsen, Fatimah El-Rashid and Sami Elle met and developed the technology while studying at Imperial College London.  

So, how exactly does an anti-greenwashing web plugin work? 

Shadey Club’s CEO, Fatimah El-Rashid, explains: “So, you would have shADe as a plugin, similar to a Chrome extension like Honey. And when you turn shADe on, you will see that while you’re browsing clothes, the clothing from unsustainable brands will be blurred.” The brands and products that you can see clearly are sustainable and have been vetted for their environmental impact. 

shADe

It’s a simple and ingenious way to ensure sustainable clothing brands are the most visible – and attractive – to online shoppers. But the environmental insight doesn’t end there. shADe uses ethical platform Good On You’s database and rating system to give customers further information about why the brand is considered good or bad. “Where there’s blurred content or unblurred content, a side panel pops out and shoppers can click on the icons to find out more details about a brand’s rating,” El-Rashid says. 

shADe’s technology is currently being tested and further developed based on Good On You’s extensive database, which has rated nearly 3,000 brands to date. “But our ultimate goal is to provide consumers with a rating of all brands from a variety of fashion directories,” El-Rashid adds. 

Obviously, this is great news for environmentally motivated shoppers, as researching sustainable brands is infamously confusing and time-consuming. But its impact reaches beyond simple convenience. Taking unsustainable products (literally) out of people’s lines of sight will, in theory, force more brands to change the way they operate and do business.

“shADe actively blurs digital content and marketing from poorly rated brands,” El-Rashid says. “So we’ve hit them at their point of weakness, which is digital marketing [and] where a lot of their budget goes. When brands become less visible, [they will be] pressured to adopt some form of change.” 

Keen to become an early adopter of shADe? Sign up here to be a tester and stay in the know about future developments and news.  

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