Insights CMA launches “greenwashing” investigation into ASOS, Boohoo and Asda

Following increasing concerns around so-called “greenwashing” in the fashion industry, the CMA has opened an investigation into the eco-friendly and sustainability claims made by fashion brands ASOS, Boohoo and Asda. The move comes as part of the CMA’s ongoing investigation into misleading environmental claims and follows concerns around the way these brands’ products are being marketed to customers.

Summary of the investigation

The investigation will consider:

  • the language used in the brands’ environmental claims and how this may suggest that products are more environmentally sustainable than they are in reality;
  • whether the brands have failed to provide sufficient information to customers about products in their eco collections (for example, missing information about the materials used in their fabrics);
  • whether statements made about fabric accreditation schemes and standards are misleading;
  • if the benchmarks used to assess whether products can be categorised as eco-friendly products are lower than what customers may expect; and
  • if certain products have been incorrectly included within eco collections.

The CMA will evaluate whether any of the environmental claims made by the brands have breached consumer protection law and, if this is found to be the case, will take the necessary enforcement action. CMA interim Chief Executive says: “Should we find these companies are using misleading eco claims, we won’t hesitate to take enforcement action – through the courts if necessary”.


The CMA’s investigation is relevant to all direct-to-consumer businesses making ‘green’ or eco claims about their products and services. Whilst the focus is on the fashion sector for now, the CMA has confirmed that its wider review of potentially misleading environmental claims in other sectors will continue, and further investigations will be opened if necessary.

Under the now-accelerated consumer law reforms in the UK (see our summary here), the CMA will soon have the power to take direct enforcement action for breaches of consumer law (including the ability to impose fines of up to 10% of annual global turnover) so it’s more important than ever for businesses to remain compliant.

Guidance on how to lawfully communicate green credentials can be found in the CMA’s 2021 Green Claims Code.

If you’d like to discuss any of the issues touched on above, please do get in touch.