Green claims under scrutiny

Asos, Boohoo, Asda under the spotlight: CMA investigates retailers’ green claims

Asos, Boohoo and, George at Asda have gone under the spotlight today as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced it will investigate whether their green claims are misleading customers.

Wider investigation into the fashion sector’s green claims will be ongoing, according to the regulator, but these three clothing retailers are the initial focus area in light of concerns around the way their products are being marketed as eco-friendly.

After turning its attention to the fashion sector in January 2022, the CMA’s initial review identified concerns around potentially misleading green claims. The regulator said these included a number of companies creating the impression their products were ‘sustainable’ or better for the environment, for example by making broad claims about the use of recycled materials in new product lines with limited information about the basis for those statements.

Under investigation is whether the green claims of the fashion retailers are too broad and vague, as well as whether – specifically – the marketing around the ‘Responsible edit’ from Asos, Boohoo’s ‘Ready for the Future’ range, and Asda’s ‘George for Good’ offering suggests the campaigns and collections are more sustainable than they actually are.

The CMA’s interim CEO, Sarah Cardwill, said: “Should we find these companies are using misleading eco claims, we won’t hesitate to take enforcement action – through the courts if necessary.”

She added: “People who want to ‘buy green’ should be able to do so confident that they aren’t being misled. Eco-friendly and sustainable products can play a role in tackling climate change, but only if they are genuine.”

The CMA has written to Asos, Boohoo, and Asda outlining its concerns, and it said it will gather information to obtain evidence to progress its investigation. According to the authority, depending on what it uncovers, possible outcomes include securing undertakings from the companies to change the way they operate, taking the firms to court, or closing the case without further action.

As reported by Green Retail World, the CMA published its Green Claims Code in September 2021. The code aims to help businesses understand how to communicate their green credentials, while avoiding the risk of misleading shoppers.

The CMA said it is at the start of its investigation and it should not be assumed that any of the retailers under scrutiny have broken consumer protection law.

[Image credit: Green Retail World]

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