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UK To Probe Unilever's Environmental Claims As Part Of Greenwashing Crackdown

By Reuters
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UK To Probe Unilever's Environmental Claims As Part Of Greenwashing Crackdown

Britain's competition watchdog has said that it plans to scrutinise environmental claims made by UK consumer goods giant Unilever about certain household essential items, amid a wider crack down on greenwashing.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it is seeking to make sure shoppers are not being misled, after an initial review uncovered a range of concerns that the maker of Dove soap "may be overstating how green certain products are".

"We'll be drilling down into these claims to see if they measure up," said CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell.

Unilever did not immediately respond to a Reuters' request for comment.

Environmental Credentials

The regulator is stepping up scrutiny of companies which may be exaggerating their green credentials in an attempt to woo climate-conscious consumers as well as billions of dollars from environmentally-focused investor funds.

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The CMA had launched a wider probe in January, joining regulators across the United States and Europe as they crack down on potentially false environmental, social and governance-related (ESG) claims made by companies.

Green Claims Code

It last year published a green claims code, a set of guidelines for companies and shoppers to ensure that environmental claims are genuine and not misleading.

The watchdog said it had not opened official investigations into other companies at this point, adding that possible outcomes of the Unilever probe include securing undertakings from the company to commit to operational change or taking the firm to court.

Last week, the CMA secured pledges from Morrisons and Marks & Spencer to cease using unlawful land agreements after it uncovered 65 anti-competitive deals. The CMA said the unlawful agreements included restrictions on land being used by a rival supermarket, or restrictions lasting five years or more that stopped landlords from allowing competing stores to set up.

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