CMA secures landmark changes from ASOS, Boohoo and 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 secured by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) commit ASOS, Boohoo and George at Asda – which together make over £4.4 billion annually from UK fashion sales alone – to change the way they display, describe, and promote their green credentials, meaning millions of customers can expect to see clear and accurate green claims.

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

Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive at the CMA, said:

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 firms have each signed undertakings that commit them to an agreed set of rules around the use of green claims. Amongst other things, these include:

  • Green claims: ASOS, Boohoo and George at Asda must ensure all green claims are accurate and not misleading. Key information must be clear and prominent, meaning it must be expressed in plain language, easy to read, and clearly visible to shoppers.
  • Statements regarding fabrics: Statements made about materials in green ranges must be specific and clear, such as ‘organic’ or ‘recycled’, rather than ambiguous – e.g., using 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. A product cannot be called ‘recycled’ or ‘organic’ unless it meets certain criteria.
  • Criteria for green ranges: 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. For example, if products need to contain a certain percentage of recycled fibres to be included in the range, this should be made clear. Products must not be marketed or labelled as part of an environmental range unless they meet all the relevant criteria.
  • Use of imagery: The firms must not use ‘natural’ imagery – such as green leaves – logos, or icons in a way that suggests a product is more environmentally friendly than it actually is.
  • Product filters: 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 targets: Any claims made to consumers about environmental targets must be supported by a clear and verifiable strategy, and customers must be able to access more details about it. Such 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.
  • Accreditation schemes: Statements made by the companies about accreditation schemes and standards must not be misleading. For example, statements must make clear whether an accreditation applies to particular products or to the firm’s wider practices.

All 3 firms must also regularly provide the CMA with reports on how they are complying with the commitments they signed – as well as taking steps to improve their internal processes.

As part of today’s 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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