Competition & Markets Authority targets fashion industry for greenwashing.
Retail and fashion brands that make false environmental claims about their products are the first to be targeted by the government’s Competition and Markets Authority as part of its plan to protect the public from being misled over the increasingly popular subject of sustainability.
The CMA published their ‘Green Claims Code’ in September last year following an investigation into the impact of green marketing on consumers. Now at the end of a grace period, they will be investigating how so called ‘sustainable’ products and services are being marketed, starting with the fashion retail sector due its size and impact on the environment – according to some estimates, fashion is responsible for between 2 and 8% of global carbon emissions.
The CMA’s Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said: “More people than ever are considering the environmental impact of a product before parting with their hard-earned money. We’re concerned that too many businesses are falsely taking credit for being green, while genuinely eco-friendly firms don’t get the recognition they deserve.
“The Green Claims Code has been written for all businesses – from fashion giants and supermarket chains to local shops. Any business that fails to comply with the law risks damaging its reputation with customers and could face action from the CMA.”
The crackdown will determine whether or not businesses are complying with consumer protection law. In circumstances where their review concludes that businesses are ‘greenwashing’, the CMA will take appropriate action which could mean court action.
The ASA have also commenced enquiries into the Climate Change Committee’s priority areas requiring carbon reduction. These areas include aviation, cars and animal based foods, with rulings upheld against Hyundai and Alpro. In undertaking these reviews, the CMA is contributing to its Annual Plan commitment to support the move towards a low carbon economy.