H&M and Decathlon to ‘adjust sustainability claims’ following ACM report

Fashion conglomerate H&M and sporting goods store Decathlon have promised to share more accurate credentials on sustainability, as their use of customer-facing ‘green’ terms was deemed unclear and insufficiently substantiated by The Netherlands’ Authority for Consumer Markets (ACM).

clothes on hangers

Following the investigation, the two have committed to ‘adjust or no longer use sustainability claims on their clothes and/or websites’, such as ‘Ecodesign’ or ‘Conscious’, as the ACM found these were being employed without the appropriate description and evidence for what these terms point to.

In place of sanctions, H&M and Decathlon have agreed to donate €500,000 and £400,000 respectively to sustainable causes within the fashion industry. Both retailers have also acknowledged the findings via statements to their stakeholders.

In light of their ‘Ecodesign’ label, Decathlon has committed to work with the ACM to address its findings that it was used without clarity and detail. Similarly, H&M have shared that its ‘Conscious’ campaign ‘could have been clearer and comprehensive’, and is committed to learning and establishing clearer industry-wide frameworks on communicating sustainability.

H&M has also been subject to an investigation from the Norwegian Consumer Authority. It was ruled that the conglomerate, along with other outfitters, could no longer use environmental product labels based on the Higg Index, a tool developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition to measure value chain sustainability of items.

A spokesperson for H&M said: “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.”

Careutje Hijmans van den Bergh, an ACM board member, added: “Consumers should be confident that [companies’] sustainability claims have a basis in fact, or there is a danger they are being misled.”