According to a statement released by The Netherlands’ Authority for Consumer Markets (ACM), the two retailers have decided to adjust or no longer use sustainability claims on their clothes and/or websites and ensure that customers are more informed, following an investigation into presumably misleading marketing claims that revealed terms like “Ecodesign” and “Conscious” were not evident or adequately corroborated.
H&M and Decathlon will also donate €500,000, about $508,000 and £400,000, respectively, to charities related to fashion sector sustainability.
The ACM will not issue penalties in light of the two firms’ pledges, according to the report. Decathlon stated that it is collaborating with the ACM to resolve its concerns that correspondence involving the brand’s “Ecodesign” designation was lacking in clarity and specificity. In an emailed response, H&M underlined that information on its website should have been clearer and more thorough. The business stated that it is dedicated to learning and providing clearer regulatory frameworks for communicating sustainability throughout the sector.
It is the latest phase in Europe’s expanding legislative crackdown on brand sustainability statements. Earlier this year, the Norwegian Consumer Authority declared that H&M and outerwear company Nrrona could no further use consumer-facing sustainability product labels based on the Higg Index, dealing a severe setback to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s implementation of the tool.
The Competition Markets Authority is investigating mass-market retailers Boohoo, George at Asda, and Asos for greenwashing in the UK, while on the other side of the Atlantic, H&M is the subject of a class-action lawsuit filed in the state of New York, which also criticises the fast-fashion giant’s sustainability claims.
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