Products of Change


Wed 14 Sep 2022 | by Rob Hutchins

H&M and Decathlon to "adjust or drop" sustainability claims following ACM investigation

The high street fashion brand H&M and the sports specialist Decathlon have promised to “adjust or no longer use" sustainability claims on their clothes and websites and ensure consumers are better informed. This is according to a statement from The Netherlands Authority for Consumer Markets (ACM) after an investigation into potentially misleading marketing claims found that certain terms like ‘Ecodesign’ and ‘Conscious’ were not clear of sufficiently substantiated. The two retailers will also donate €500,000 and £400,000 respectively to causes linked to sustainability in the fashion industry in order to avoid sanctions from the ACM. Decathlon will now work with the ACM to provide greater clarity and detail on communications surrounding its Ecodesign label, while H&M has issued a statement of acknowledgement that information shared on its site “could have been clearer and more comprehensive.” Business of Fashion reports that the company is now committed to learning and establishing clearer industry-wide legal frameworks for communicating sustainability. This isn’t the first time H&M has found its sustainability communications at the centre of consumer watchdog action. Earlier this year, the Norwegian Consumer Authority ruled H&M and outerwear brand Norrona could no longer use consumer-facing environmental product labels based on the Higg Index. In the UK, a number of mass-market retailers are being investigated by the Competition Markets Authority over concerns around greenwashing, while in the US, H&M again is facing a class-action lawsuit filed in the state of New York, which criticises at its sustainability claims.