SAC halts consumer programme on ‘misleading’ green claims concern

SAC halts consumer programme on ‘misleading’ green claims concern

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) has paused its consumer-facing transparency programme after backlash from Norway’s advertising watchdog which claims is resulting in misleading environmental claims from brands.

In a statement issued today (27 June), CEO of the  SAC, Amina Razvi, confirmed the decision to “pause the consumer-facing transparency programme globally” as it works with the Norwegian Consumer Authority (NCA) and other consumer agencies and regulators to better understand how to substantiate product level claims with trusted and credible data.

Last week the  Norwegian Consumer Agency (Forbrukertilsynet) said it believed Norrøna is “breaking the law” in marketing clothes as environmentally friendly and it issued a warning to H&M Group against using the same type of environmental claims. The Norwegian Consumer Agency has concluded that this tool from the SAC is “not sufficient as a basis for the environmental claims they have used in marketing.”

The watchdog said while it welcomed steps to make the industry more environmentally friendly, it is concerned over the use of the SAC’s Higg MSI tool to make environmental claims, specifically since the tool gives a standardised measurement of the environmental impacts of different textile types in the manufacture of clothing. However, it only “measures” the environmental impact of different types of textiles until the fabric itself is finished – ie not the entire environmental impact of a finished garment you buy in the store. This “measurement” is based on average figures for the environmental impact of the various types of textiles that have been sourced from different regions and countries in the world.

Razvi said since the notification from the NCA, the SAC had taken time to reflect and consider the implications it may have across the apparel industry.

“As an organisation focused on driving positive environmental change in the fashion industry, we take the notification from the NCA extremely seriously. It is critical we seek to understand how to improve this work and act urgently and decisively to ensure the changes that are needed both in the industry and at consumer level are accelerated, and not delayed by the lack of harmonised legislation and clear guidance from regulators. We know how important it is that our members and the wider industry have trust not just in our mission, purpose and approach, but also the data and insights that sit behind our tools. 

Source: Just Style