Hunkemöller sued by German consumer advocate for greenwashing
Dutch lingerie retailer Hunkemöller has been sued by a German consumer advocate. The lawsuit is due to misleading marketing in its online shop about sustainability. Dutch retailer Peek&Cloppenburg and German fashion group Popken Fashion GmbH have also been warned.
Verbraucherzentrale Rheinland-Pfalz shared the news on their website. The German consumer organization warned a total of three online fashion retailers regarding misleading claims about sustainability, a practice that is also known as ‘greenwashing’.
‘Completely arbitrary if products contain sustainable material’
Hunkemöller marketed a part of their collection as being made from ‘sustainable cotton’. However, this cotton is mixed with mostly conventionally produced cotton, the consumer advocate found. Therefore it is ‘completely arbitrary’ in which garments the environmentally friendly material is used, Verbraucherzentrale Rheinland-Pfalz writes.
Sustainable cotton is mixed with mostly conventionally produced cotton.
“It is not certain that the articles advertised as sustainable are actually made of this more environmentally friendly cotton,” says law expert Jennifer Häußer from the German organization.
Peek&Cloppenburg and Popken Fashion warned
The consumer advocate warns that, unlike the term ‘organic’, statements like ‘sustainable’, ‘climate neutral’ or ‘environmentally friendly’ are not legally defined. Instead, companies decide for themselves what they mean.
The term ‘sustainable’ is not legally defined.
In addition to Hunkemöller, Dutch fashion brand Peek&Cloppenburg and the German company behind Ulla Popken were also warned about greenwashing. However, the companies changed their websites and reached an out-of-court settlement with the consumer advice center.
Hunkemöller: ‘Never intended to mislead consumers’
Hunkemöller says the company is surprised by the news. The brand mentions it has responded to the warning by Verbraucherzentrale Rheinland-Pfalz and made changes on their website, adding: “We want to clarify that it has never been Hunkemöller’s intention to mislead consumers.”