Asos, Asda and Boohoo sign agreement after greenwashing concerns

The clothes sellers promised to ensure that their customers are well informed about the environmental claims they make.

The competition watchdog had previously been concerned about the three companies’ practices
The competition watchdog had previously been concerned about the three companies’ practices (Tim Goode/PA)

Asda, Asos and Boohoo have all promised to ensure customers are given accurate information about how environmentally friendly their clothes are after a 20-month probe by a regulator.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that it had secured agreements from the three firms, which commits them to informing their customers properly in the future.

It started an investigation into potential greenwashing at the firms in the summer of 2022, saying it was worried that some clothes in the companies’ ranges did in fact not meet green criteria.

The watchdog said at the time that it might take the businesses to court if their claims did not “stack up”.

But on Wednesday it announced it has instead come to an agreement where none of the firms admit any wrongdoing, but promise to follow a set of rules.

Asos has a “Responsible edit” range, Boohoo sells clothes under “Ready for the Future”, and Asda has “George for Good”.

In future, the criteria for inclusion in these ranges must be “clearly set out and detail any minimum requirements,” the CMA said.

“For example, if products need to contain a certain percentage of recycled fibres to be included in the range, this should be made clear,” it said.

Products must meet all criteria to be included in one of those ranges.

It has also said the firms must stop using terms like eco, responsible or sustainable, which are all vague, and instead use words like organic or recycled.

And even then it cannot use those words unless certain criteria are met and the proportion of recycled or organic fibres in a garment must be easily displayed.

Further, if a company has some kind of green accreditation, it must make it clear whether that applies to an individual product, or its wider practices.

CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell said: “Following our action, the millions of people who shop with these well-known businesses can now have confidence in the green claims they see.

“This also marks a turning point for the industry. The commitments set a benchmark for how fashion retailers should be marketing their products, and we expect the sector as a whole – from high street to designer brands – to take note and review their own practices.”