Britain’s fashion brands in the spotlight for alleged greenwashing

By our News Team | 2022

Consumer watchdog believes some fashion brands may be making misleading claims about environmental credentials in their marketing.

Britain’s consumer watchdog body has warned that fashion brands in the UK are being investigated for making misleading claims about their environmental credentials, a practice commonly known as greenwashing.

According to a report in the London-based Guardian newspaper, these brands could be forced to change the way they advertise, or face legal action, if it turns out that have breached consumer protection law by making unsubstantiated claims.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has apparently prioritised fashion because of the size of the market and the scale of consumer concerns. But sectors such as transport, food and drink, and beauty are also likely to come under the microscope.

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By Molgreen via Wikimedia Commons – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=110433751

Brands’ claims must ‘stack up’

“People are becoming increasingly aware of the negative impact that fashion can have on our planet. We know many shoppers are actively looking for brands which are doing good things for the environment – and we want to make sure the claims they see are stacking up,” a CMA spokesperson is quoted as saying by the Guardian.

“Our work so far indicates that there could be issues with greenwashing in the fashion sector and that is why we’ve prioritised this area for further investigation.

“Now is the time for the fashion industry to take a fresh look at what they’re telling customers and make any changes needed to comply with the law. Businesses that can’t back up their claims risk action from the CMA and damage to their reputation in the long-run,” the spokesperson said.

The fashion industry is said to be a major contributor to carbon emissions and could account for a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050. Interestingly, the growing number of returned fashion items due to online shopping is an area of concern for environmental campaigners.