H&M facing another greenwashing lawsuit

H&M is facing another class action lawsuit over allegations that its Conscious Choice collection amounts to greenwashing.

In the latest greenwashing case against the fashion giant, a claim filed in a federal court in Missouri is suing the retailer for “misleadingly, illegally, and deceptively” seeking to capitalise on consumer ‘green’ trends, where H&M customers are led to believe that Conscious Choice products are an environmentally responsible purchase.

The plaintiffs are claiming that consumers have been “hoodwinked into paying a premium for green products which weren’t green at all.”

“Basing sustainability strategies on the idea that consumers can continue to consume disposable plastic goods (because they can be recycled into more products) is highly problematic.

“This method of ‘green’ marketing does not address the fundamental issue of perpetuating disposable solutions and over-consumption of natural resources,” noted the filing.

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“Indeed, these strategies encourage consumers to buy more clothes or throw away garments sooner, in the belief they can be recycled in some magic machine.”

The filing claims that, as consumers are showing a growing appetite for sustainable products, many companies “greenwash” their products by claiming that their clothing is made from environmentally friendly materials.

H&M uses green hangtags to identify and market its “Conscious Choice” products.

This labelling tactic implies the garments are sustainable or more sustainable than other products, despite being manufactured mostly from polyester or recycled plastics, which the plaintiffs claim is a misrepresentation of products that do not negatively affect the environment.

In addition, H&M charges a premium price for its Conscious Choice products, which The Fashion Law says is significant to the filing, as it is “at the heart of the plaintiffs ability to show that they have suffered the necessary injury to have standing to sue.”

ClassAction.org, a platform dedicated to exposing corporate wrongdoing, says the The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Green Guides, a set of principles designed to prevent companies from greenwashing their products, states that “an environmental marketing claim should not overstate, directly or by implication, an environmental attribute or benefit.”

“Marketers should not state or imply environmental benefits if the benefits are negligible,” the filing states.



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