UK Watchdog Cracks Down On Greenwashing

UK Watchdog Cracks Down On Greenwashing

On January 14th, a crackdown on greenwashing began. 

The fashion industry was targeted first because of its size and the demand from its consumers for their clothing to be made ethically and sustainably. Heading up the crackdown is the Competitions & Markets Authority (CMA). They’re a non-ministerial branch of government who ensure no-one’s using any dodgy tactics to get ahead of their competitors, or trick you into buying their products. One of those dodgy tactics is greenwashing.

So, in September 2021, the CMA sent the new Green Claims Code to fashion brands, giving them three months to check their environmental claims against the code's six key principles. With the three months now up, any claims the CMA crackdown finds to be false could land the brand with sanctions for breaching consumer protection law, and a hit to their reputation along the way. (Pinsent Masons) It’s a big step towards policing a dishonest marketing tactic that makes it increasingly difficult for you to know the difference between sustainable and unsustainable clothing.

Take H&M’s Conscious Collection for example. A CMA report showed their Conscious Collection contained more synthetics than their main collection - harming the environment even more. Of the 46 fashion brands analysed, including Nike, Gucci, Zara and Adidas, 59% of their sustainability-related claims were, in fact, false. (Edie) Their marketing is positively soaked in greenwashing. 

At Brothers, we use our own six-point standard to stop greenwashing at our door. If a brand doesn't meet our style, social and environmental standards, you won't see their clothes on Brothers. But, if we do decide to add them to the collection, their social and environmental impacts are laid out in the form of a footprint on each individual product page - we even share some areas for the brand to improve on.

Our product footprint for Jollie's Socks, including the brand's Strong Points and Areas for Development.

Instead of using greenwashing to trick you, our transparency can empower you to make positive buying decisions. Over the next decade, those buying decisions have the potential to steer us to a fairer fashion industry. And, with the introduction of legislation like the Green Claims Code, it will become increasingly difficult for brands to greenwash their way there.