23 Feb 2024, 13:40
Franca Quecke

Following EU pressure, German fashion retailer Zalando abandons 'sustainable' labels

Clean Energy Wire

Following a dialogue with the European Commission and national consumer protection authorities, Berlin-based fashion retailer Zalando has committed to removing "misleading" sustainability labels and symbols displayed next to the products it offers on its platform, the Commission announced in a press release. From 15 April, environmental symbols such as leaves or trees and the company’s original sustainability label will no longer appear on the website. The fashion retailer also commits to no longer using the term "sustainability" or other terms that unjustifiably suggest an environmental or ethical advantage. Instead, Zalando will provide clear information about the environmental benefits of its products, such as the percentage of recycled materials used. Consumers should have reliable information so that they can make truly sustainable purchasing choices, European commissioner for justice Didier Reynders said. “We must also put companies in their place that might try to profit from consumers' good intentions,” he added.

Zalando welcomed the agreement with the Commission, stating that it would provide "even more specific and clearer information about product benefits" in future, according to n-tv. National consumer authorities are responsible for monitoring green claims, in cooperation with the Commission. Based on a report that Zalando must submit in the future, the authorities will assess how the company has adhered to its commitments and, if necessary, enforce compliance, for example by imposing fines or removing content.

Following a policy push to reign in false green claims on products, online retailers in the EU must adhere to rules that prohibit unfair business practices, and provide consumers with information that does not wrongfully influence their decisions. The move is primarily intended to take action against companies across the globe that increasingly praise themselves and their products as "climate neutral" and announce often unsubstantiated net-zero targets. In January, the European Parliament also passed a new law banning greenwashing in advertising. General claims, such as “environmentally friendly," "climate neutral" and "biodegradable," may no longer be printed on products without reliable evidence.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
« previous news next news »


Researching a story? Drop CLEW a line or give us a call for background material and contacts.

Get support

+49 30 62858 497

Journalism for the energy transition

Get our Newsletter
Join our Network
Find an interviewee