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  • Writer's pictureDavid Connolly

ASOS quietly got rid of its ‘Responsible’ clothing collection ahead of CMA greenwashing probe

ASOS quietly removed its sustainable fashion collection from its website just a few weeks before the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation into potential “greenwashing” by the brand.

The “Responsible Edit” launched in June 2019 and was touted by ASOS as a “one-stop shop” for “environmentally conscious” clothing.

At its launch the range featured 3,700 items from a range of brands. Products were selected for the edit if they met certain sustainability criteria, such as if they were certified as contained recycled materials or sustainable fibres.

While browsing the ASOS site shoppers could also filter to see items made from “recycled” or “sustainable” materials.

But i can reveal both the Edit and the filter were ditched by ASOS ahead of news that the CMA was investigating the fashion firm over its environmental claims.

Both had disappeared from the ASOS website by 15 July 2022, without any public announcement explaining their disappearance.

Two weeks later, the CMA said it was investigating ASOS, Boohoo and George at ASDA over their potential use of “misleading eco claims”.

The watchdog is concerned the brands are using vague language to market items as environmentally friendly, and weak criteria to decide if products are sustainable, it said. This may create the impression that clothing collections such as the “Responsible Edit” “are more environmentally friendly than they actually are”, the CMA said.

“People who want to ‘buy green’ should be able to do so confident that they aren’t being misled,” Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) interim CEO Sarah Cardell said in a statement.

ASOS told i it “proactively” removed the Responsible Edit from its site in response to the CMA investigation.

“ASOS took the decision to proactively remove the functionality of the Responsible Edit, including filters, from the website in June as we co-operated with the CMA’s review of the fashion retail sector and we informed them of this move,” a spokesperson told i.

“We continue to work closely with the CMA as part of its investigation and remain committed to playing our part in making fashion more sustainable.”

Attempts to access ASOS’ “Responsible Edit” now redirect to the firm’s ‘Responsible Fashion’ landing page, which details its “journey to becoming a more sustainable brand”.

Last month ASOS announced a new sustainable range dubbed the Circular Design Collection, which features garments designed around the principles of “reducing waste, and reusing and recycling more”.

But the revelation that the previous Edit was quietly removed from the site ahead of the CMA investigation, with no explanation to customers, will once again raise questions about transparency in the fashion industry.

Lauren Bravo, author of How To Break Up With Fast Fashion, told ilast month that many fashion brands are not honest with customers about the environmental impact of their products.

“Greenwashing is rife in the fashion industry, with brands exploiting our growing concern for the planet, and it can be really hard for the average shopper to spot the lies and exaggerations amid all the buzzwords and big claims,” she said.

Original article: here

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