Zalando to overhaul sustainability claims, European Commission says


Adds Zalando response, details in paragraphs 4-8

BRUSSELS, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Europe's biggest online fashion retailer Zalando ZALG.DE has committed to overhaul by mid-April the sustainability claims it makes on its web sites after the EU qualified them as "misleading", the European Commission said on Thursday.

The retailer's existing sustainability page will be revised into two detailed pages on product standards and the company's sustainability strategies, and it will ensure the claims it presents are verifiable and have significant environmental impact.

The platform will also remove sustainability flags and environment-related icons displayed next to the products it offers, and will stop using the term "sustainability" or other terms indicating environmental benefits, instead providing clear information such as the percentage of recycled materials used.

"After more than a year of intense work on our customer experience and close dialogue with the European Commission, we are pleased to have reached a mutual agreement," Zalando said in an e-mail statement.

The company's commitment comes as the European Union is working on further tightening regulation on environmental claims. The Commission has proposed a directive on the substantiation of green claims to help consumers make sustainable purchasing choices and stop companies from making misleading claims about the environmental merits of their products.

Currently, the bloc's law on unfair commercial practices is more general, with companies obliged to provide "truthful" information to consumers and refrain from "misleading consumers to influence their choices".

"The outcome of our mutual agreement with the European Commission is a first step in providing clarity to the industry on what a compliant sustainability experience could look like," Zalando added, urging EU policymakers for a "consistent" regulatory framework to provide companies with legal certainty.

Zalando will now need to submit a report on the implementation of the commitments for the EU's Consumer Protection Cooperation Network to assess how they were implemented and, if needed, enforce compliance.

(Reporting by Piotr Lipinski; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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