The CMA have set their Sight on Reviewing Green Claims of Fashion Retailers
Following the introduction of the Green Claims Code at the end of 2021 and the promise by the CMA to begin by reviewing claims in the fashion retail sector, they have now revealed which companies in the fashion retailer sector it will be investigating first.
The CMA started with the fashion retail factor due to the £54 billion spent annually on clothing and footwear by UK consumers and the fact that fashion is responsible for between 2 and 8% of global carbon emissions, according to some estimates.
The CMA will be inspecting green claims made by ASOS, Boohoo and George at ASDA, following concerns around the way there are marketing their products as eco-friendly. The CMA has revealed what type of issues it will be investigating, including;
- “the statements and language used by the businesses are too broad and vague, and may create the impression that clothing collections – such as the ‘Responsible edit’ from ASOS, Boohoo’s current ‘Ready for the Future’ range, and ‘George for Good’ – are more environmentally sustainable than they actually are
- the criteria used by some of these businesses to decide which products to include in these collections may be lower than customers might reasonably expect from their descriptions and overall presentation – for example, some products may contain as little as 20% recycled fabric
- some items have been included in these collections when they do not meet the criteria
- there is a lack of information provided to customers about products included in any of the companies’ eco ranges, such as missing information about what the fabric is made from
- any statements made by the companies about fabric accreditation schemes and standards are potentially misleading, such as a lack of clarity as to whether the accreditation applies to particular products or to the firm’s wider practices”
The CMA has written to the companies, highlighting their concerns and that it will use its information gathering powers to obtain evidence to progress its investigation. Depending on the evidence reviewed by the CMA, there are a number of different outcomes including; securing undertakings from the companies to change the way they operate, taking the companies to court, or where there is no wrongdoing found, closing the case without further action.
Whilst the CMA is specifically looking at the fashion retail sector, they have made it clear that they will continue to look into other sectors at the same time, and detailed reviews into other sectors will come in due course. Therefore, it is important that all brands, regardless of what sector they are in, refrain from making green claims that cannot be substantiated or are misleading.
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