Fashion brands agree changes to eco-friendly claims

Three UK fashion brands have agreed to change the way they present their environmental credentials.

ASOS, Boohoo and George at Asda have signed formal agreements with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) stating that they will use only clear and accurate green claims.

It comes after the CMA launched an investigation examining the brands’ green claims in 2022, having identified concerns of possible ‘greenwashing’ during an initial review of the fashion sector.

The firms have agreed that statements made about materials in green ranges must be specific and clear, such as ‘organic’ or ‘recycled’, rather than using ambiguous terms like ‘eco’, ‘responsible’, or ‘sustainable’ without further explanation. The percentage of recycled or organic fibres must be clearly displayed and easy for customers to see.

Also, the criteria used to decide which products are included in environmental collections — such as ASOS’s former ‘Responsible edit’, Boohoo’s ‘Ready for the Future’ range and George at Asda’s ‘George for Good’, and any further ranges — must be clearly set out and detail any minimum requirements. Products must not be marketed or labelled as part of an environmental range unless they meet all the relevant criteria.

The undertakings also include not using ‘natural’ imagery (such as green leaves) in a way that suggests a product is more environmentally friendly than it actually is.

“Following our action, the millions of people who shop with these well-known businesses can now have confidence in the green claims they see,” said CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell, adding that this marks a “turning point” for the fashion 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.”