H&M said its Conscious collection uses sustainable materials and processes © H&M
H&M said its Conscious collection uses sustainable materials and processes © H&M

H&M quizzed on sustainability claims

8 July 2019

H&M is being asked by Norwegian authorities to give more detail on the materials and processes used to make its “sustainable” Conscious collection.

Norway’s Consumer Authority said H&M is not being specific enough in explaining how clothes within the collection are more sustainable than its other products.

H&M said its Conscious products contain at least 50% recycled or organic materials. 

Under the country’s Marketing Control Act, companies are prohibited from making claims which could mislead the consumer. 

Bente Øverli, deputy director general at Norway’s Consumer Authority, told Quartz: “Our opinion is that H&M is not being clear or specific enough in explaining how the clothes in the Conscious collection and their Conscious shop are more ‘sustainable’ than other products they sell.

“Since H&M is 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.”

The Consumer Authority said it is currently in talks with H&M regarding the marketing of the collection but it is too early to say whether it will proceed with the case. 

If H&M is determined to be in violation of the law, it could face fines imposed by the authority. 

A spokesperson for H&M said: “We are pleased that the Norwegian Consumer Authority shines a light on the marketing of sustainable alternatives. We have a good dialogue with them regarding how we can become even better at communicating the extensive work we do. 

“We are glad that they want to work with us and help us provide correct and clear information to consumers.” 

Earlier this year, H&M claimed over half (57%) of materials used to make its products were made using recycled or sustainably sourced fibres. 

In its 2018 sustainability report, the company also outlined its targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.

It also said all packaging used should be made of 100% recycled or sustainably sourced materials by 2030.

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