The Swedish fashion company H&M is facing a serious lawsuit in the USA. The accusation of a customer: Greenwashing. H&M had falsely declared the sustainability of its garments and therefore caused economic damage to the plaintiff. This was reported by the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT in its anti-greenwashing column.
The case had already been revealed in the summer. Back then, the U.S. magazine Quartz had reported allegedly false information about the company concerning the so-called Higg Index. The index is a rating tool developed by the industry itself, which supposedly allows customers to see whether a garment has been produced sustainably. Depending on the water and energy consumption textiles receive points and are evaluated accordingly.
DIE ZEIT reports: ” One dress, for example, which required 20 percent more water than usual in its manufacture, was advertised on the H&M website as requiring 20 percent less water.” The U.S. medium Quartz discovered several hundred such false reviews. The listings were subsequently removed from the Higg index. H&M spoke of ” technical errors” and “human error” in its statement.
Whether it comes to a trial, will now be decided by the competent court in New York. With the introduction of the stricter EU Green Claims Regulation, which is intended to protect consumers from false sustainability promises, corporations run the risk of similar proceedings in Europe too if false promises are made. In the future, the EU will require proof from independent organizations when making claims about the environmental benefits of products. The regulation is to be adopted in the fall of 2023.
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