In seven months The UK regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA“) announced a review of green claims in the fashion retail sector, opening an investigation into the environmental claims made by a number of fashion businesses, including ASOS and George Asda. This comes less than a year after the CMA issued a notice to all businesses to ensure their green claims are legitimate.
The investigation examines each business’s environmental claims against the CMA’s Green Claims Code (see our previous post here for further discussion) and the UK’s Consumer Protection Act. In particular, the CMA has yet to conclude whether retailers are in breach of the Act.
The CMA said in its review it is looking at the businesses’ fashion products, particularly clothing lines marketed in local languages.Responsible editing“,”Ready for the future“And”George for good“.
When deciding whether to take further action (such as criminal prosecution or enforcement actions), the CMA will consider a range of factors, including:
Whether the language they use to promote products is misleading in terms of their eco-friendly credentials
The criteria used by the business to assign products to their sustainable lines and whether these are being respected
Level of information about products offered to customers
Misrepresentations and/or recognition schemes
The CMA is now using its statutory powers to gather evidence and is said to have written to at least three businesses raising concerns. The CMA’s interim chief executive said if these businesses use misleading green claims, “[the CMA] He will not hesitate to take enforcement action – if necessary, through the courts“.
This is an important message for all businesses, and not just those in the fashion retail space. It highlights that the CMA is actively monitoring greenwashing, with the CMA saying that “A broader review of the fashion sector and potentially misleading environmental questions in other sectors continues…“
American action. Greenwashing is high on the agenda, not just in the UK. In the US, various well-known retailers are currently facing proposed class action lawsuits over misleading environmental claims, similar to their environmentally friendly clothing lines.
Businesses should approach these recent efforts to address greenwashing as a warning and strive to back up their claims with continued consumer trust and confidence.
Danielle Jones also contributed to this article.
 [ 10 Jan 2022, “Compliance Review commences” (Misleading environmental claims – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)) ]
© Copyright 2022 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 227