Consumer goods company Unilever will be scrutinized by the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regarding its marketing of certain products as environmentally friendly.
The CMA announced Tuesday it would investigate Unilever in line with its Green Claims Code published in 2021. The regulator said it is “concerned that Unilever may be overstating how green certain products are through the use of vague and broad claims, unclear statements around recyclability, and ‘natural’ looking images and logos.”
The investigation is the first the CMA has announced into a company since expanding its green claims scrutiny regarding the so-called fast-moving consumer goods space earlier this year.
The regulator said it contacted Unilever as part of its evidence-gathering efforts. Its determinations could result in the company being required to change its marketing or court action.
“So far, the evidence we’ve seen has raised concerns about how Unilever presents certain products as environmentally friendly,” said CMA Chief Executive Sarah Cardell in a press release. “We’ll be drilling down into these claims to see if they measure up. If we find they’re greenwashing, we’ll take action to make sure shoppers are protected.”
Unilever, based in London, is parent company to popular brands including Dove, Comfort, and Axe/Lynx.
“We are surprised and disappointed with the CMA’s announcement and refute that our claims are in any way misleading,” said a company spokesperson in an emailed statement. “Unilever is committed to making responsible claims about the benefits of our products on our packs and to these being transparent and clear, and we have robust processes in place to make sure any claims can be substantiated.”
The spokesperson added Unilever would fully comply and cooperate with the CMA’s probe.
The CMA said other investigations might follow from its ongoing review into consumer goods companies.