Greenwashing Graveyard: Companies Fined (or Soon To Be) in the UK Crackdown

The eco-conscious consumer is here to stay, and companies are scrambling to cater to this growing demographic. But with this shift comes a deceptive practice known as greenwashing: making misleading or unsubstantiated environmental claims about products or services.

The UK is taking a zero-tolerance approach to greenwashing. New regulations empower the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to hit companies with fines of up to 10% of their global turnover for greenwashing offenses. This has many companies sweating, and for good reason. So, which brands have been caught in the CMA’s sights?

Greenwashing Hall of Shame (Potential Offenders):

While no official fines have been issued yet (as of March 18, 2024), the CMA has cast its investigative net over several big names:

  • Fashion Faux Pas: Fashion giants like H&M, ASOS, Boohoo, and George at Asda were investigated for potentially misleading sustainability claims regarding the eco-friendliness of their clothing lines. Vague and unsubstantiated language around materials and production processes raised red flags for the CMA.

Greenwashing Companies and Fines


  • Beyond Clothing: The CMA isn’t just focused on apparel. Household product companies like Unilever and beverage companies like Coca-Cola have also come under scrutiny for their environmental messaging. The CMA is looking for clear evidence to back up any sustainability claims these companies make.


These investigations send a clear message: the UK is serious about tackling greenwashing. Companies must ensure their environmental claims are crystal clear, supported by verifiable evidence, and don’t mislead consumers.

Empowering Yourself as a Green Consumer:

As a consumer with the power to influence the marketplace, you can be a force against greenwashing. Here’s your green warrior toolkit:

  • Certification Savvy: Seek out products with recognized eco-labels like Fairtrade or Energy Star. These certifications provide independent verification of a product’s environmental claims.

  • Dig Deeper: Don’t be fooled by flashy marketing slogans. Research a company’s environmental practices before making a purchase. Look for sustainability reports, partnerships with environmental organizations, and concrete actions they’re taking to reduce their environmental footprint.

  • Question Everything: If a company’s sustainability claims seem unclear or too good to be true, contact them directly. Ask questions and demand specifics.

The Future of Green Marketing:

Greenwashing is a lose-lose proposition for both consumers and the environment. By taking a strong stance against greenwashing, the UK is paving the way for a more transparent and sustainable marketplace. With empowered consumers and clear regulations, businesses will need to prioritize genuine environmental responsibility to win over eco-conscious customers.

Businesses Beware: Avoiding the Greenwashing Graveyard

Here’s a survival guide for businesses navigating the new green marketing landscape:

  • Truth, Accuracy, Transparency: Ensure your environmental claims are truthful, accurate, and verifiable with supporting data.

  • Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Focus on concrete actions you’re taking to reduce your environmental impact. Highlight sustainable practices in your supply chain, energy efficiency measures, and efforts to minimize waste.

  • Honesty is the Best Policy: Be transparent about your sustainability journey, even if it’s a work in progress. Consumers appreciate authenticity and a commitment to continuous improvement.

By following these steps, businesses can avoid hefty fines and build trust with eco-conscious consumers. The fight against greenwashing is a positive step towards a greener future. Working together, consumers and businesses can create a marketplace that rewards genuine environmental responsibility and discourages misleading practices.

Floom Creative

We specialise in creating narratives for brands, nonprofits and charities that have their values rooted in environmental and ethical consciousness. By communicating your vision through visual sustainable storytelling, we can help your brand to flourish.

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Other Articles on Greenwashing can be found below:

What is the green claims code and what does it mean for your business?

What is Greenwashing and how to spot it?

The Impact of Greenwashing

The different types of Greenwashing

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