H&M and Decathlon will have to adjust their communications on sustainable development

H&M will remove the “Conscious choice” flag from its e-shop worldwide. This process should be completed by the end of October. The company will also adjust product descriptions and more clearly share information about sustainability efforts, a spokesperson for H&M’s Dutch subsidiary confirmed by email to FashionUnited.

This information follows an investigation report by the Autoriteit Consument en Markt (Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets – ACM). The organization concluded on September 13 that the sustainability claims of H&M as well as those of the sportswear chain Decathlon were “unclear and insufficiently substantiated”. During the investigation, H&M undertook to adapt the working method, in particular by modifying or removing the sustainability claims.

The ACM particularly criticized the use of the term “conscious”, an indicator that H&M has used for years for “items made with special attention to the planet”, according to its website. From 2010, H&M even had a separate Conscious line. The formula had already been the subject of several comments, by the activist organization Schone Kleren Campagne, for example, which had parodied an H&M Conscious advertisement in 2013. According to the ACM, the claim did not sufficiently specify the benefits of the products. in question in terms of sustainability. The same goes for the “Ecodesign” concept used by Decathlon.

H&M: “Achieving clearer communication on sustainability with ACM”

Thus, the “Conscious” indicator will disappear, as will the term “Conscious choice”. Product descriptions on the website are also being adjusted. For example, the current texts on the materials used are modified. If recycled or sustainable materials were used with a product, text specifying this is added in a pop-up appearing on the product page. Information about H&M’s sustainability efforts and goals, still found on product pages, will occupy a different place on the fast-fashion giant’s e-commerce site.

Finally, H&M will provide more details on the methods of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), an organization from which the company buys cotton. BCI is a non-profit organization that helps cotton producers to make their production more sustainable. However, there is no guarantee that a cotton garment actually contains more sustainable raw materials.

For its part, Decathlon, via a statement from the ACM, “commits to adjusting or ceasing to use sustainability claims on its clothing and/or websites”. On the other hand, in an attempt to redeem itself and compensate for its approximate claims in terms of sustainability, the brand will donate 400,000 euros to a cause dedicated to sustainability in the clothing industry.

This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.nl. It has been translated and completed in French by Julia Garel.

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