Rapanui Declares War on Greenwashing


When Rapanui founders Rob & Mart Drake-Knight launched their clothing line in the U.K, they knew consumers were keen to eco-brand’s greenwashing and that they’d have their work cut out for them when it came to showing credibility. So they came into the arena ready for war.

Not only have the brothers become completely transparent in getting consumers the information they want (as to how their clothing got to them) but they’ve also put a clear coat on how they market it as well. How? By investing a lot of time in communication design, eco-labeling to benchmark their products’ eco impact and offering interactive traceability maps “with images, video and figures of our entire supply chain for every product from seed to shop.”

“We’re saying that brands should start educating themselves, and their consumers, about their supply chains and reduce spin marketing and reconnect the consumer’s awareness of their environmental consequence – i.e, their buying action,” says Mart Drake-Knight in a businessGreen.com article.

Rapanui claimed their own 2010 Sustainable Business Award (the youngest winners ever) this year for not only their organic fabrics but for the renewable energy powered factories they work with, and the fact that they enforce fair labor at all points of their supply chain.

As more and more sustainable brands and stores are entering the marketplace touting green clothing, confused consumers being fed gobs of “green” information are recognizinggreenwashing tactics, which devalues the cause itself.  Will brands have to be much more transparent when claiming to be eco without being laughed at?


Say the brothers on their site: “I don’t think we are going to be some kind of world saving company that is the solution to the 21st century sustainability crisis, but if we can inspire people to make wider lifestyle choices in going green and to spark a change in the industry or inspire some sort of wider change in the industry, then I think we have done our job in making a significant contribution towards sustainability.”

Amy DuFault

Amy DuFault is a conscious lifestyle writer, consultant and fashion instigator. She resides in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.