CMA: Stop greenwashing or face fines
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has warned UK fashion and textile businesses they have until the New Year to make sure their environmental claims comply with the law.
The CMA has published a new Green Claims Code to help businesses understand how to communicate their green credentials while reducing the risk of misleading shoppers. The code focuses on six principles which are based on existing consumer law. It underlines that firms making green claims “must not omit or hide important information” and “must consider the full life cycle of the product”.
The Code is part of a wider awareness campaign which the CMA has launched today ahead of COP26.
The CMA is concerned about people being misled by environmental claims and also wants to ensure that businesses feel confident navigating the law in this area.
The principles are:
- claims must be truthful and accurate
- claims must be clear and unambiguous
- claims must not omit or hide important relevant information
- comparisons must be fair and meaningful
- claims must consider the full life cycle of the product or service
- claims must be substantiated
Following an initial bedding-in period, the CMA will carry out a full review of misleading green claims, both on and offline (e.g. claims made in store or on labelling), at the start of 2022. However, the CMA said textiles and fashion industries are a priority sector to review in the coming months.
Where there is clear evidence of breaches of consumer law, the CMA may also take action before the formal review begins.
The Green Claims Code has been published following extensive consultation with businesses of all sizes and consumer groups. The CMA said businesses should check their green claims against the Code and seek legal advice if they are unsure whether their claims comply with the law.
More information can be found on the misleading environmental claims case page.