Another two brands came under scrutiny this week after having their sustainability-related claims investigated by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). H&M and Decathlon have agreed to remove sustainability-related labels from their products and websites, and to improve the use of sustainability claims in the future.
The regulator kicked off a study in 2020 into sustainability claims made by businesses to understand the substance and proof behind them. ACM sent letters to around 170 businesses last year, pointing out problems that the regulator saw relating to sustainability claims in their sectors.
I have always been personally impressed with the measures and targets that H&M have set themselves and I know first hand how complex the world of sustainable claims can be, so can empathize with this difficult position they find themselves in.
They stated "Transparency, also regarding product information, has always been a cornerstone of our sustainability strategy. We have been committed to increasing our level of transparency for many years. It allows our customers to make informed purchasing decisions."
Transparency is absolutely key for any organisation wishing to go down any reporting or claim route. Having the right tools, platform and clear messaging is what will allow companies to stand confidently behind the claims they make.
The announcement comes as regulators worldwide are increasingly focusing on potentially misleading sustainability claims made by companies, particularly in the fashion and clothing sectors.