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Asos, Boohoo and Asda investigated over sustainability claims

The CMA will investigate whether statements made by the brands create the impression that certain clothing collections are ‘more environmentally sustainable than they actually are’, and whether statements about fabric accreditation schemes and standards are ‘potentially misleading’

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is launching investigations into Asos, Boohoo and George at Asda to scrutinise eco-friendly and sustainability claims made by the fashion brands about their products, including clothing, footwear, and accessories. 

The move forms part of the CMA’s ongoing investigation into potential greenwashing, and reportedly follows concerns around the way the firms’ products are being marketed to customers as eco-friendly.

The investigation will include whether the statements and language used by the businesses create the impression that certain clothing collections are “more environmentally sustainable than they actually are”.

It will also look into whether the criteria used by these businesses to decide which products to include in these collections may be lower than customers might expect from the descriptions and overall presentation.

Additionally, the CMA will investigate if some items have been included in these collections when they do not meet the criteria, whether there is “missing information” about what fabrics are made from, and whether any statements made by the companies about fabric accreditation schemes and standards are “potentially misleading”.

The CMA said that if these companies are found to be using misleading eco claims, the authority “won’t hesitate to take enforcement action – through the courts if necessary”.

Asos and Boohoo both said they will cooperate with the investigation, as Asos is “committed to playing its part in making fashion more sustainable, including providing clear and accurate information about its products”, and Boohoo is “committed to providing its customers with accurate information on the products they buy”.

An Asda spokesperson told Retail Sector: “We know how important it is that our customers can trust the claims we make about our products, which is why we ensure the statements we make can be supported by industry accreditations.

“We are ready and willing to answer any questions the CMA have about our George for Good range and welcome further work by the CMA to ensure the sustainability claims made by the fashion industry as a whole are robust and clear.”

In January this year, the CMA identified concerns around potentially misleading green claims in the fashion sector. These included a number of companies “creating the impression” that their products were sustainable or better for the environment, but with little to no information about the basis for those claims or which products they related to.

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