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New NAD case addresses green claims in the fashion industry: part 1




As fashion companies start to make more and more claims about what they are doing to help the environment, they need to make sure they’re in a good position to back up those claims with solid evidence. We previously published an article about an ongoing lawsuit against Allbirds regarding its carbon emissions allegations. In this article, start looking at what NAD had to say about some of the product content claims and ambitious claims made by Everlane.

Product content claims

Everlane claimed the number of recycled bottles that had been used in some products, such as a parka (60 refilled plastic bottles) and a sweatshirt (15 refilled plastic bottles). To support the claims, the company provided evidence that it works with plastic pellet producers to calculate the amount of plastic needed to produce a fixed amount of yarn, determine the amount of yarn used in a product, and use a size bottle average to calculate the number of renewed bottles.

Everlane used the same kind of data to support a larger claim that, to date, the company has recycled more than nine million plastic bottles. Everlane provided evidence of how many clothes it had produced using recycled plastic since 2018 and, using the same calculations, calculated the number of bottles that had been recycled since then. NAD determined that the calculations were verified in both cases and that Everlane had a reasonable basis for making both claims.

Ambitious claims

In addition to claims about current practices, Everlane has announced plans to phase virgin plastic from its entire supply chain by 2021. As we have mentioned in recent articles, ambitious claims can be difficult to substantiate because you cannot prove what did not happen. But that doesn’t mean you can just rely on good intentions. NAD argued that an advertiser must be able to demonstrate that their goals and aspirations are not simply illusory and provide evidence of the steps they are taking to achieve their stated goal.

In this case, Everlane relied heavily on its Global Recycled Standard (or GRS) certification. GRS is an international standard that builds on well-established international and regulatory guidelines (including the FTC’s Green Guides) for what constitutes recycled content. GRS also has strict rules for third party chain of custody certification of recycled materials, content claims, social and environmental production practices, and chemical restrictions in manufacturing processes.

Everlane explained that it does not source GRS certified materials containing virgin polymers and only uses recycled polyester and recycled nylon for its yarns. Also, in accordance with GRS standards, each production step is certified by an independent third party. On his website, Everlane explains how he reached 90% of his goal and what he is doing to reach the remaining 10%. Based on this evidence, NAD concluded that the advertiser had a reasonable basis for its ambitious claim.

Safer for the environment

Stay tuned for another article, where take a good look at how NAD analyzed the Safer For The Environment claim and provide further advice to support the green claims.




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