Updated Jul 29, 2022

Three brands under investigation over green claims

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into the green claims of ASOS, BooHoo and George at Asda in relation to fashion. It is part of a wider investigation into the fashion sector and greenwashing, and intends to establish whether the green claims these companies are making are misleading customers.

The investigation into the fashion industry as a whole started in January. Initial reviews discovered concerns about potentially misleading green claims. This includes claims that a product was sustainable or better for the environment. Marketing strategies sometimes make broad claims about the use of recycled materials in new clothing, but offer no information about the basis for the claims or the products they are referring to.

As a result, ASOS, BooHoo and George at Asda are being put under the spotlight to check their green claims. In particular, the CMA is focusing on the statements and language used by the businesses to see if they are broad enough and vague enough to create the impression that clothing collections are more sustainable than they are.

They're also investigating whether the criteria used to decide which products to include in the collections might be lower than customers expect, given the descriptions used in marketing. Checks will be made to ensure all items included in the collections meet the criteria too.

In addition, the CMA is looking at whether:

  • there is a lack of information for customers about products in eco ranges, such as information about what the fabric is made from;
  • statements the companies are making about fabric accreditation schemes and standards are misleading.

Sarah Cardell, interim Chief Executive 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."

She added "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."