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Asda, ASOS and Boohoo commit to ‘clear green claims’

Asda, ASOS and Boohoo commit to ‘clear green claims’
Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

The fashion retailers have signed "landmark" agreements to use accurate and clear green claims on their clothing lines, following a near-two-year probe by a watchdog.

Millions of shoppers will now have confidence when buying clothing with green claims, as George at Asda, ASOS, and Boohoo change the way they display, describe and promote their green credentials.

The retailers – collectively making over £4.4bn annually from UK fashion sales alone – must ensure all green claims are prominent and not misleading, as well as described in plain language.

The voluntary undertakings come after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation into the outlets’ green claims in 2022, following concerns over possible greenwashing.

As part of today’s update, the CMA has also issued an open letter to the industry urging retail businesses to review their claims and practices following the agreements with the trio.

Green and clean claims

There are several undertakings that the retailers have committed to.

For example, statements about the fabrics used must be specific and clear, such as ‘organic’, or ‘recycled’, rather than ambiguous with terms such as ‘eco’, ‘responsible’ or ‘sustainable’.

Further, the percentage of recycled or organic fibres must be clearly displayed and easy for shoppers to see.

Another big change is around imagery, with the retailers banned from using ‘natural’ imagery, such as green leaves, or logos/icons that suggest a product is more environmentally friendly than it actually is.

Search functions on sites allowing shoppers to filter specific items, such as ‘recycled’ trousers, must also only exhibit those made from predominantly recycled materials.

Meanwhile, environmental targets have to be verifiable and statements made about accreditation schemes must not be misleading. For example, they need to make clear whether the accreditation applies to a particular product or the firm’s wider practices.

Asda, ASOS and Boohoo will also report to the CMA on how they’re complying with these commitments.

‘High street or designer – take note’

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.”