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CMA has secured clear and accurate green claims commitments from ASOS, Boohoo, and George at Asda

Following CMA action, millions of consumers can now expect to see accurate and clear green claims when shopping for fashion items with ASOS, Boohoo and George at Asda. The undertakings…

Thanks to CMA's action, ASOS, Boohoo, and George at Asda will now provide accurate and clear green claims to millions of consumers when they shop for fashion items.

ASOS, Boohoo, and George at Asda, making over £4.4 billion annually from UK fashion sales, have committed to change the way they present their green credentials, ensuring clear and accurate green claims for millions of customers, as secured by the Competition and Markets Authority.

The CMA launched an investigation into ASOS, Boohoo, and George at Asda in July 2022 to scrutinise their fashion ‘green’ claims, after initial concerns of possible greenwashing., having identified concerns of possible greenwashing during its initial review of the fashion sector.

Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive at the CMA, stated:

Following our action, the millions of people who shop with these well-known businesses can now have confidence in the green claims they see.

This also marks a turning point for the industry. The commitments set a benchmark for how fashion retailers should be marketing their products, and we expect the sector as a whole – from high street to designer brands – to take note and review their own practices.

The companies have committed to follow an agreed set of rules regarding green claims. These rules include:

  • ASOS, Boohoo, and George at Asda must ensure all green claims are accurate and not misleading. Key information must be clear and prominent, expressed in plain language and clearly visible to shoppers.
  • Statements about materials in green ranges must be specific and clear, like ‘organic’ or ‘recycled’, instead of using ambiguous terms like ‘eco’ or ‘sustainable’ without further explanation. The percentage of recycled or organic fibers must be clearly displayed and easy for customers to see. A product cannot be labeled ‘recycled’ or ‘organic’ unless it meets certain criteria.
  • The criteria for environmental collections must be clearly outlined, including any minimum requirements. For example, if products need to contain a certain percentage of recycled fibers to be included in the range, this should be made clear. Products must not be marketed as part of an environmental range unless they meet all the relevant criteria.
  • The companies must not use ‘natural’ imagery in a way that suggests a product is more environmentally friendly than it actually is.
  • Search filters must be accurate, only showing items that meet the filter requirements – for example, if a consumer uses a filter to show ‘recycled’ trousers, only trousers made from predominantly recycled materials should be shown.
  • Environmental goals: Any statements made to consumers about environmental goals must be backed by a clear and provable plan, and customers should be able to access more information about it. This information should include the purpose of the goal, the expected completion date, and how the company will work to achieve that goal.
  • Certification programs: Statements made by the companies about certification programs and standards should not be deceptive. For instance, statements should clarify whether a certification applies to specific products or the company's broader practices.

All 3 companies must also regularly submit reports to the CMA detailing their adherence to the commitments they agreed to – and take steps to enhance their internal processes.

As part of the update, the CMA has also issued an open letter to the sector, urging fashion retail businesses to review their claims and practices in light of the undertakings, which set a benchmark for the industry. To further help businesses stay on the right side of the law, the CMA is set to build on its current Green Claims Code, with additional information that will be tailored to the fashion sector.

For more information, visit the ASOS, Boohoo and Asda: greenwashing investigation page, and the Misleading environmental claims collection page.

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