UK regulator releases fashion industry green claims regulations

fashion industry green claims regulations
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The UK regulator responsible for the Green Claims Code has released the first set of specific fashion industry green claims regulations.

The UK competition regulator’s greenwashing investigation into fast fashion brands ASOS, Boohoo and George at Asda recently concluded, and the outcomes have significant impacts for all businesses in the fashion industry, and wider, sector-agnostic green claims compliance too.

As a result, All 3 firms have signed formal agreements to use only accurate and clear green claims, and to change the way they display, describe and promote their green credentials.

All 3 firms must now regularly provide the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) with reports on how they are complying with the commitments they have signed – as well as taking steps to improve their internal processes.

And, as a result of this update, the CMA has issued an open letter instructing all fashion retailers to review their claims and practices, stating that the outcomes of this investigation set a benchmark for the industry.

The CMA also announced its intention to build on the Green Claims Code with additional information tailored to the fashion sector going forward, and has released some initial guidance on specific fashion industry green claims regulations.

What does this mean for fashion brands?

In addition to the standard terms in the existing Green Claims Code, here’s what ASOS, Boohoo and George have had to agree to, and fashion brands should be preparing for:

Statements made about materials in green ranges must be specific and clear, such as ‘organic’ or ‘recycled’, rather than ambiguous – e.g., using terms like ‘eco’, ‘responsible’, or ‘sustainable’ without further explanation. The % of recycled or organic fibres must be clearly displayed and easy for customers to see. A product cannot be called ‘recycled’ or ‘organic’ unless it meets certain criteria.

The criteria used to decide which products are included in environmental collections must be clearly set out and detail any minimum requirements. For example, if products need to contain a certain % of recycled fibres to be included in the range, this should be made clear. Products must not be marketed or labelled as part of an environmental range unless they meet all the relevant criteria.

Brands must not use ‘natural’ imagery – such as green leaves – logos, or icons in a way that suggests a product is more environmentally friendly than it actually is.

Search filters must be accurate, only showing items that meet the filter requirements – for example, if a consumer uses a filter to show ‘recycled’ trousers, only trousers made from predominantly recycled materials should be shown.

Any claims made about environmental targets must be supported by a clear and verifiable strategy, and customers must be able to access more details about it. Such information should include what the target is aiming to achieve, the date by which it is expected to be met, and how the company in question will seek to achieve that target.

Statements made by companies about accreditation schemes and standards must not be misleading. For example, statements must make clear whether an accreditation applies to particular products or to the firm’s wider practices.

If you’re a fashion brand, even with a sustainability focus, you need to prioritise green claims code compliance at a product and business level.

This is the first sector specific green claims guidance, but it won’t be the last.

Make sure compliance is on your priority list.

181st Street has an expert team of regulatory affairs specialists, analysts, sustainability experts and communications leaders who can help audit your claims, assess your regulatory risks, produce a regulatory roadmap to help you prepare for future legislation, and bring your communications in line. 

Please contact us to discuss your requirements –


This article has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.

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