Last week Norway’s Forbrukertilsynet (Consumer Authority) revealed that they were investigating fast fashion giant H&M’s sustainability claims. Their investigation comes under the Marketing Control Act in Norway, Section 2 of which states that marketing cannot contain ‘an incorrect or otherwise misleading representation which is likely to influence the demand for or supply of goods’. Essentially, if brands mislead their customers in any way, it’s illegal under existing Norwegian law.
More specifically, the Consumer Authority are concerned that H&M may be unable to back up their claims about the sustainability of their business, and of their H&M Conscious collection in particular. This concern stems from the lack of explanation offered by H&M about exactly how their Conscious clothes are being manufactured:
“As H&M are not giving the consumer precise information about why these clothes are labelled Conscious, we conclude that consumers are being given the impression that these products are more ‘sustainable’ than they actually are.” — Bente Øverli