ASOS, Boohoo and George at Asda commit to clear green claims

March 27th, 2024

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have secured undertakings that commit ASOS, Boohoo and George at Asda to use only accurate and clear green claims.

The trio of retailers have committed to changing the way they display, describe and promote their green credentials.

All three firms must regularly provide the CMA with reports on how they are complying with the commitments and how they are taking steps to improve their internal processes.

As a result of the commitment, any statements made about materials in green ranges must contain specific and clear language, such as ‘organic’ or ‘recycled’, rather than ambiguous terms such as ‘eco’ or ‘responsible’, and a product cannot be called ‘recycled’ or ‘organic’ unless it meets certain criteria.

In addition, any claims made to consumers about environmental targets must be supported by a clear and verifiable strategy, which customers must be able to access to learn more details. The information should include what the target is aiming to achieve, the date by which it is expected to be met and how the company in question will seek to achieve that target.

In 2022, the CMA launched an investigation into the three retailers, which make over £4.4 billion annually from UK fashion sales, to scrutinise their ‘green’ claims.

The CMA said it would “get to the bottom” of whether the firms’ green claims are misleading customers as part of a wider ongoing investigation into the fashion sector.

The investigation examined the statements and language used by the businesses and assessed whether they were too broad and vague to create the impression that sustainably labelled clothing collections are more environmentally friendly than they actually are.

Under the new commitment, the retailers must clearly set out the criteria used to decide which products are included in environmental collections.

In light of the commitment, the CMA has written an open letter to the fashion retail sector to highlight the need for businesses to consider their obligations under consumer protection law.

In November, investors launched a lawsuit against Boohoo after modern slavery allegations wiped more than £1 billion from its value.

Last Updated: 28 March 2024