Last reviewed 2 August 2022

Fashion brands ASOS, Boohoo and Asda’s George outlets will have their green claims “scrutinised” by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in an attempt to clamp down on greenwashing.

The CMA says it intends to “get to the bottom of whether the firms’” green claims are misleading customers. Claims relating to fashion products such as clothing, footwear and accessories will be investigated, with the option of widening the scope of the study if necessary.

Launching the investigation, CMA Interim Chief Executive, Sarah Cardell, said: “Should we find these companies are using misleading eco claims, we won’t hesitate to take enforcement action — through the courts if necessary”.

The CMA announced in January they would be reviewing green claims made by the fashion retail sector, where an estimated £54 billion is spent by consumers annually. Its initial review identified serious concerns around potentially misleading green claims by a number of fashion companies, with little to no information about the basis for those claims or exactly which products they related to.

The CMA has written to the three fashion firms explaining that it will use its powers to obtain information and gather evidence to progress its investigation. Possible outcomes include securing undertakings from the companies to change the way they operate or taking the firms to court.

The green claims review of fashion products comes as part of an ongoing investigation into potential greenwashing that mislead consumers. Recent research indicates that UK consumers spend over £40 billion a year on ethical goods and services and the CMA is concerned that this surge in demand could incentivise more businesses to make misleading claims about the of their products and services.

“People who want to ‘buy green’ should be able to do so confident that they aren’t being misled. Eco-friendly and sustainable products can play a role in tackling climate change, but only if they are genuine,” Cardell added.