Greenlight: The ‘Honey’ of Sustainable Fashion

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Are you trying to enter the world of fashion sustainability and don’t know where to start? Are you overloaded with all the resources out there? Are you a sustainable fashion consumer? Then this is the tool for you. Introducing the sustainable web extension that helps people shop more sustainably: Greenlight. Co-founded by Jacob Widgor, Julian Neuman, and Evan O’Connor, this team from St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., has been working to provide consumers with a free, easy-to-use tool founded from the need for transparency in brand sustainability. 

So, how does it work? Greenlight uses Good On You’s data to provide users with information on 2,500+ brands and how sustainable each brand is. Easily downloadable, this web extension is immediately identifiable by a capital ‘G’ on the top right corner of a user’s screen. If the extension has the data on the store you’re looking to buy from, then the capital ‘G’ will show a colour depending on its rating on a scale from red, meaning “we’d avoid,” to green, meaning “excellent.” By clicking on the ‘G,’ users can then find more information on the brand’s sustainable score and its impact on people, animals, and the planet. To access further information about brand sustainability ratings, users can click on the “about score” section, as seen in the picture to the right, and automatically be brought to Good On You’s page, further reflecting their goals of transparency and accessibility.

Another feature that users are pleased about is the ‘alternatives’ section below the brands’ ratings. One user said, “[t]he extension is awesome, and I’m super impressed! I think what I like the best about it is that it shows similar brands with better sustainability ratings as alternatives to the not-so-great ones that I’m used to buying from!”

Julian further explained how this feature works and why they chose to include it in their extension. “We create suggestions based on the category of a brand a user is viewing. For example, if a user views an unsustainable athletic wear brand, we present them with more sustainable athletic wear alternatives. This addresses a major consumer pain point: it is difficult to discover new sustainable brands,” he said. 

Julian also spoke about the origins of Greenlight, starting with co-founder Jacob, and what prompted him to start Greenlight. “Jacob was taking a course on sustainable fashion at Cornell. He learned of the fashion industry’s ills to a level of detail he previously had not been aware of. When he tried to shop sustainably himself, he encountered many difficulties, prompting the creation of Greenlight.” Jacob later brought on co-founders Evan and Julian to round out the team with their background in finance, entrepreneurship, and tech and product development. .” Greenlight has become an organization spurred by the need for transparency, ease in finding sustainable brand information, and accessibility to more sustainable alternatives. All of this is evident in what they put on their website, stating that they “display ethical ratings directly on a fashion brand’s website so that users don’t have to go on long Google searches to see if the company they are shopping with is sustainable.”

Shopping sustainably has never been easier!

Another reason for the creation of Greenlight is that lack of transparency deters consumers from shopping sustainably, a term that Julian mentioned as the “attitude-behaviour gap” in fashion, especially regarding sustainability. This term means that people’s values, words, or attitudes do not match their behaviour. As a sometimes difficult hurdle to overcome when entering the realm of sustainable fashion, Greenlight strives to reduce that gap by making the process easier. The web extension helps promote transparency with easy-to-access information on each brand, offers alternatives that promote further sustainable brand exploration, and removes barriers to sustainable shopping while decreasing individual attitude-behaviour gaps. Julian mentioned that “According to a BCG industry report, 75% of people believe fashion brand transparency is very important!” So how do people act on that importance? The answer is tools like Greenlight.

Greenlight co-founders also have plans on how they will expand the extension. At this point, the extension relies mainly on Good On You’s data, but they are always looking to create an even better tool for consumers. While continuously working on bringing brand ratings and alternatives to consumers, they are looking towards their goal of being a “one-stop-shop for sustainable online shopping and guidance,” Julian said. They are looking to include other areas on the consumer spectrum, such as food and home goods, and eventually including user rewards and discounts for sustainable shopping. “We want to dispel the notion that sustainable shopping has to be more expensive!” Julian said.

Greenlight aims to help people become better sustainable consumers by promoting sustainable learning through its website’s blog. For more information, explore their resources here.

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