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H&M and Decathlon to adapt sustainability claims following report by Dutch watchdog

By Rachel Douglass


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Image: H&M

H&M and Decathlon are set to adjust or take down certain sustainability claims on their clothing and websites after a report by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) said their use of such claims was “unclear”.

The two chains have pledged to inform consumers more clearly in order to minimise the risk of misleading practices, the watchdog said. The duo will also be making donations totalling 900,000 euros to different sustainable causes as compensation.

According to the organisation, both Decathlon and H&M, among other retailers, were found to have utilised “unclear and insufficiently substantiated sustainability claims” during its investigation.

The report stated that both retailers were offering products under general terms such as ‘Ecodesign’ and ‘Conscious’ without specifying the sustainability benefits alongside the claim.

During the investigation, the retailers indicated they were willing to adjust their practices and make commitments, to be enforced over two years, and were therefore not subject to any sanctions by the ACM.

“Consumers that wish to make sustainable choices must be able to have confidence in the veracity of the claims that businesses make on their products or websites,” said Cateautje Hijmans van den Bergh, board member of ACM, in the report’s release.

She continued: “We are pleased to see that these companies have acknowledged that they should have informed consumers more clearly about the sustainability aspects of their products, and that they will adjust various sustainability claims and their substantiations.”

Update, September 13 13:55: A spokesperson for H&M has responded to FashionUnited's request for comment stating: "We have taken the decision to remove H&M’s Conscious Choice indicator from our online shop worldwide. This work is in progress and will be finalised by the end of October."

Sustainable Fashion