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  • Writer's pictureJurriaan Dupuis

Local Nonprofit Hosts Sustainability Festival to Combat Greenwashing

This Friday sees the opening of the Sustainable Moments Festival in Groningen, a seven-day event which includes various food, drinks, music, fashion-related activities and more.

A T-shirt by the Sustainable Moments organization, whose message loosely translates to “Get lost with your tree hugging!” ©Groener Groningen

The Sustainable Moments Festival is an initiative by Groener Groningen, a local nonprofit that aims to steer consumers and entrepreneurs into a more eco-friendly direction.


The organization, whose name translates to Greener Groningen, says the aim of the upcoming festival isn’t merely to raise awareness for climate-related issues. Instead, its focus lies in more concrete ways to grow both supply and demand for sustainable options in the city.

Things look good on the demand side of that equation, says the organization’s chairman Ferrick van Dongen. “We see that there really is a desire for it among people,” he says, “but it is made difficult.”

His comment is a reference to what’s known as greenwashing: when companies pretend their products are more sustainable than they really are. As a result, consumers who want to act and purchase more sustainably are not able to do so.

“Because of greenwashing, you make the wrong choices even when you think you’re on the right track,” Ferrick says.

That’s why the Sustainable Moments Festival brings attention to alternatives to purchasing new products. For instance, its fashion activities aren’t just about what’s new and trendy.

“It’s very much about swapping, clothing repair, learning to take care of your clothes,” Ferrick explains, “and what you can do with torn clothes.”


Cooperation with local clothing stores

Interestingly, the Sustainable Moments Festival’s timetable includes the Kleer’n’zooi XXL event this Saturday afternoon. This event is hosted in cooperation with a different local fashion festival known as 050&Mode.


Although both festivals cooperate for this specific event, they’re completely separate otherwise, and their organization differs. In contrast to the Sustainable Moments Festival, dozens of fashion retailers take part in 050&Mode, many of which primarily carry new fashion products.


Ferrick admits that these stores “don’t profile themselves as sustainable options,” and that some of them carry “fast fashion” products. These are clothing items from manufacturers who produce large quantities of clothes at a low cost. Sustainability is normally not their priority.

A Sustainable Moments promotional piece, the message of which translates to “Golly, give a little thought to our planet.” © Groener Groningen

As to why Groener Groningen would combine efforts with a festival like 050&Mode, Ferrick explains that he only agreed to it once it had been established that 050&Mode would “focus on sustainability.”


“It is true that they collaborate with parties that may be less sustainable,” he says, “but the majority of the events they themselves organize revolve around sustainability.”


Ferrick also believes that cooperating with local businesses is the best way to move forward for Groener Groningen.


“We try to make it easier for people to at least have sustainable options to choose from in Groningen.”


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