The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has begun an investigation into environmental claims made by UK fashion retailers, as more companies claim to utilize "recycled materials" and to be more "sustainable."
The investigation will look into environmental claims made by enterprises in the UK fashion retail sector to see if they are compliant with consumer protection laws, identify businesses who are 'greenwashing,' and take appropriate action.
The agency is particularly focused on how claims about a product's or service's environmental impact are made and if they are substantiated by evidence. It will also look into if these claims have an impact on consumer behavior and whether consumers are being misled about a lack of information.
The CMA targeted the fashion industry because of its size, citing estimates that UK consumers spend £54 billion on clothing and footwear each year and that fashion contributes between 2 and 8% of global carbon emissions.
Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, said that more individuals than ever are examining the environmental impact of a product before parting with their hard-earned money. They're concerned that too many businesses are falsely claiming to be environmentally conscious, while true green businesses go unnoticed. The Green Claims Code has been written for all businesses, from fashion giants and supermarket chains to local shops. Failure to comply with the law can harm a company's reputation with customers and lead to legal action from the CMA.
Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, Greg Hands, added that millions of UK households are rightfully opting to convert to green products as they try to decrease their carbon footprint. However, it is only fair that businesses' commitments be backed up by truthful assertions. With guidelines on how to best express and interpret environmental claims, the competition regulator's new code will help to ensure this.
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