UK to scrutinise food, drink labels for greenwashing

Companies exaggerating their green credentials, regulator says
calendar icon 26 January 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Britain's competition regulator will consider whether companies selling food, drink and toiletries are wrongly labelling products as "sustainable" or "better for the environment" in its latest probe into greenwashing, reported Reuters

The regulator believes companies may be exaggerating their green credentials in an attempt to woo climate-conscious consumers in Britain's fast moving consumer goods sector which is worth 130 billion pounds ($160 billion) a year.

Britain's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced the review on Thursday, a year after it started looking into misleading green claims in the fashion industry.

Clothing retailers ASOS ASOS.L, Boohoo BOOH.L and supermarket Asda's brand George were still being investigated, the CMA said.

The new probe will cover food, drink, cleaning products, toiletries and personal care items such as toothpaste and laundry detergent, the CMA said.

Major players in the sector include Unilever ULVR.L, NestleNESN.S, Coca-ColaKO.Nand Procter & GamblePG.N, as well as manufacturers of private-label products for supermarkets. The CMA said it would scrutinise big and small companies.

Depending on what it finds, the regulator said it could consider taking enforcement action or opening an investigation into a specific company.

"We're concerned many shoppers are being misled and potentially even paying a premium for products that aren't what they seem," CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell said.

"Now is a good time for businesses to review their practices and make sure they're operating within the law."

($1 = 0.8076 pounds)

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