ASOS, Boohoo and Asda investigated over greenwashing claims
The Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) is launching investigations into ASOS, Boohoo and Asda to scrutinise the eco-friendly and sustainability claims about their fashion products.
The move is part of the CMA's ongoing investigation into potential greenwashing and follows concerns around the way the companies’ products are being marketed to customers as environmentally friendly.
In January 2022, the CMA looked into the fashion industry and identified concerns around potentially misleading green claims. These included a number of companies creating the impression that their products were "sustainable".
The CMA is now investigating the following concerns:
- 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’.
- 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.
- Lack of information provided to customers about products included in any of the companies’ eco ranges.
- 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 three firms outlining its concerns and will seek evidence to progress its investigation.
Sarah Cardell, interim CEO of the CMA, said: "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.
"We’ll be scrutinising green claims from ASOS, Boohoo and George at Asda to see if they stack up. Should we find these companies are using misleading eco claims, we won’t hesitate to take enforcement action – through the courts if necessary.
"This is just the start of our work in this sector and all fashion companies should take note: look at your own practices and make sure they are in line with the law."