French luxury group Kering, which owns brands including Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen, has issued new guidelines for staff to avoid greenwashing.
The brands and suppliers must communicate their sustainability efforts and results transparently and appropriately, with data underlying statements where possible.
The guidelines are in regard to products sold in-store or on the group’s brands’ e-commerce sites. The guidance covers claims related to all environmental and social issues, written information on the website, label, advertising, etc.
It has to be mentioned that, it does not cover mandatory information that is included on product labels by law, also it is not related to packaging or corporate communications.
The Paris-based Group said, Generic sustainability-related statements that are broad and non-specific, such as “eco-friendly”, “environmentally-friendly” or “green,” should be avoided.
Basically, Products should not be labelled carbon neutral, but instead should be reported as reduced emission efforts and that there are separate programmes within Kering for carbon offsetting.
Kering said for a claim to be fully responsible and trustworthy it must be true and relevant, clear and unambiguous, fair and without exaggeration, substantiated and verifiable, not over-using visual natural or nature-like elements, and putting forward certifications properly.
Greenwashing’ is a serious obstacle to achieving a truly sustainable transition in the fashion industry and in the wider world as it prevents consumers from making informed purchasing decisions.
Furthermore, it is also a form of unfair competition that can harm companies that communicate their sustainability efforts in a proportionate, measurable and fair way.