Britain to investigate environmental claims by ASOS, Boohoo and Asda

Britain to investigate environmental claims by ASOS, Boohoo and Asda

LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) – Britain’s competition regulator will investigate whether fashion brands ASOS (ASOS.L), Boohoo (BOOH.L) and George at Asda are misleading shoppers with their environmental claims as examines retailers for evidence of ‘greenwashing’.

The investigation comes as regulators step up scrutiny of companies that may be overstating their green credentials in a bid to woo climate-conscious consumers as well as billions of dollars in funds from environmentally-focused investors.

“People who want to ‘buy green’ should be able to do so in the knowledge that they are not being misled,” said Sarah Cardell, acting director general of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), in a communicated.

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“Eco-friendly and sustainable products can play a role in the fight against climate change, but only if they are authentic.”

If the three companies are found to be misleading customers, the CMA will take enforcement action, including in court, if necessary, Cardell said, noting that the investigation was “just the beginning” of the work. of the CMA in the clothing sector.

The agency has raised concerns with all three companies and will begin gathering evidence, which will help it determine if there have been any violations of consumer protection laws.

It will consider whether the language used in marketing clothing, shoes or accessories is too vague and whether the criteria used by companies to label products as sustainable might be lower than customers might reasonably expect.

Online fashion retailers ASOS and Boohoo said in separate statements they would work with the CMA and pledge to provide accurate information about their products.

Representatives of supermarket group Asda, owner of the George clothing line, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

GREEN CLAIMS INVESTIGATION

The CMA’s concerns come as the global fashion industry comes under increasing pressure to clean up its act.

The United Nations says industry is the world’s second largest consumer of water, behind agriculture, and is estimated to be responsible for up to 8% of carbon emissions.

Many regulators in the United States and Europe are cracking down on potentially false environmental, social and governance (ESG) claims made by companies across all sectors as well as investor funds to ensure they are supported. Read more

Last year, MAC released a Code of Environmental Claims, a set of guidelines for businesses and buyers to ensure that environmental claims are genuine and not misleading.

It will look at products from fashion brands’ eco-friendly ranges, where some labeled as eco-friendly may contain as little as 20% recycled fabric, the CMA said.

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Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru and Sachin Ravikumar in London Editing by David Goodman, Elaine Hardcastle

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