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ASOS, Asda and Boohoo investigated over greenwashing concerns

·2-min read
ASOS’s ‘Responsible Edit’ range, Boohoo’s ‘Ready for the Future’ range and Asda’s ‘George for good’ range will each be assessed on whether they appear more environmentally sustainable than they really are. (Ian West/PA) (PA Archive)
ASOS’s ‘Responsible Edit’ range, Boohoo’s ‘Ready for the Future’ range and Asda’s ‘George for good’ range will each be assessed on whether they appear more environmentally sustainable than they really are. (Ian West/PA) (PA Archive)

ASOS, Boohoo and Asda are to be investigated by the competition watchdog over whether they’re overstating their eco-friendly credentials to customers amid a wider probe into greenwashing.

The Competition and Markets Authority said some firms claimed their products were sustainable with “little to no information” about the basis of those claims.

ASOS’s ‘Responsible Edit’ range, Boohoo’s ‘Ready for the Future’ range and Asda’s ‘George for good’ range will each be assessed on whether they appear more environmentally sustainable than they really are.

Language used in sustainability is too vague, the CMA said, while some products advertised as ‘green’ only contain 20% recycled materials.

Interim CMA chief exec Sarah Cardell said: “Eco-friendly and sustainable products can play a role in tackling climate change, but only if they are genuine.

“Should we find these companies are using misleading eco claims, we won’t hesitate to take enforcement action – through the courts if necessary.”

In September, the CMA published its ‘Green Claims Code,’ an online tool designed to help shoppers assess the veracity of eco-friendly claims made by high street brands. According to the code, claims must be truthful, accurate, unambiguous and must not hide relevant information if their environmental credentials are to be taken seriously.

A study co-ordinated by the CMA last year found four in ten websites appeared to use misleading tactics on sustainability that could be in breach of consumer law, including using vague terms like ‘natural products’ or using own-brand eco logos not affiliated with an accredited organisation.

It comes after the CEO of restaurant chain Honest Burgers warned customers to watch out for bogus sustainability statements put out by hospitality firms.

Honest Burgers boss Tom Barton told the Standard: “I hope they start pushing back to companies that just give them watered down bullshit lines like ‘100% fresh beef’ - that doesn’t mean anything.”

Barton questioned the “greenwashing” carbon offsetting programmes adopted by catering businesses as it was “hard to know if you’re supporting anything” by funding a scheme “halfway around the globe.”

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