Quarter of greenwashing complaints to CMA ‘about fashion industry’

Fashion brands make up almost a quarter of greenwashing complaints to the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA), according to a new report by RPC.

Greenwashing is a practice in which marketers persuade the public that an organisation's products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly when this is not completely accurate.

The law firm said that five out of 21 complaints made to the CMA since the Green Claims Code was introduced in September 2021, related to the fashion industry.

Ciara Cullen, a partner in RPC’s retail & consumer group, said: “Complaints to regulators about ‘greenwashing’ are likely to increase over the coming years in light of increasing regulatory scrutiny of green claims.

"We're also seeing regulators, such as the CMA and ASA, proactively investigating specific industries – this includes the fashion sector with the CMA recently announcing its plan to 'name and shame' the worst greenwashing offenders amongst fast fashion brands.

"With the CMA being granted additional enforcement powers, this will significantly increase the risk for businesses who get environmental claims wrong. Given the potential scope of penalties, it would be prudent for businesses to ensure that any green claims can be appropriately substantiated at the time they are made.”

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