The CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) has today announced it is launching investigations into ASOS, Boohoo and Asda, to scrutinise their “green” fashion claims.
The regulator will be looking into eco-friendly and sustainability claims made by the three brands about their fashion products, including clothing, footwear and accessories.
The move comes as part of its ongoing investigation into potential greenwashing and follows concerns around the way the firms’ products are being marketed to customers as eco-friendly.
In January this year, the CMA turned its attention to the fashion industry, where an estimated £54 billion is spent by consumers annually, and its initial review identified problems around potentially misleading sustainability claims.
These included several companies creating the impression that their products were better for the environment, by making broad claims around the use of recycled materials, with little evidence to back up these statements.
In addition, statements and language used by the businesses were deemed too broad and vague.
Clothing collection titles such as the ‘Responsible Edit’ from ASOS, Boohoo’s current ‘Ready for the Future’ range and ‘George for Good’ may appear more environmentally sustainable than they actually are.
“People who want to ‘buy green’ should be able to do so confident that they aren’t being misled,” CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell said.
“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.”
This morning, ASOS acknowledged the CMA’s announcement, stating that it will cooperate with the investigation and is “committed to playing its part in making fashion more sustainable, including providing clear and accurate information about its products.”
Boohoo has also said it will “continue to work collaboratively with the CMA and is committed to providing its customers with accurate information on the products they buy.”
An Asda spokesperson told Charged: “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.”