Regulators, investors and customers are demanding accurate environmental claims, but businesses lack the know-how and processes to meet this pressure. Here’s how Sue Fairley, Head of Sustainability at New Look, gained assurance in their communications.
Location: London, UK
Company Size: ~10,000
Product Compliance Report
Demand for transparency and credible information to back up claims is accelerating from regulators, citizens, employees and investors. Yet, greenwashing is evident in retail. As a result, governments have evolved regulations around environmental claims, leaving companies exposed to new risks and potential costs if they fail to take action now.
“New Look has been working on a transformation project which will reduce our impact on people and the planet. Now we’re facing the new regulatory environment, it’s how we demonstrate that all of the work we’ve been putting in can be assured to those who need to know. Whether that’s our investors, our customers or the regulators.
2022 was a really important year for us. The Competition and Markets Authority’s Green Claims Code was launched and there had been a number of retailers that had been called to task. These new pressures were leading to internal discussions between the sustainability, marketing and legal teams in terms of what we could and couldn’t say.
People are seeking some kind of assurance that what you say you’re doing, you actually are doing. It’s getting a bit confusing for customers now. And I think we need to simplify their communications for people to make valued judgments between products, based on the information we're giving them.”
Operating across multiple markets, companies such as New Look have to analyse and align with dozens of new and emerging anti-greenwashing regulations. But achieving this is a headache. Most businesses have lots of data, but lack the regulatory know-how and internal processes to ensure compliance at scale.
To kick start the journey to compliant environmental claims, New Look used the Compare Ethics GAP Report™ to analyse 650+ products with 7,000+ data points in six weeks, rolling out 470+ compliant claims in December 2022 (via the Impact Widget™).
“We tested across hundreds of products which highlighted any gaps and created a foundation for better use of data, to scale up for accurate communication, as well as running online tests of clearer communication icons.”
Knowledge on how anti-greenwashing regulations work
“Compare Ethics has given an external confidence to the conversations we were having in the business. First of all, in terms of knowledge of how the regulations actually work and also to help us determine what customers were looking for. From a third party outside the business, it was interesting to look at it through a different lens.”
Turning a complex data problem into simple communication
“The journey we’re on at the moment is taking complex data gathering, automating it and making it easier to look at the traceability of a product from its raw materials to its finished state. There are lots of opportunities here to look at the impact of a product during its production, manufacture and post-sale.”
Confidence to communicate environmental claims
“What I like about Compare Ethics is that it gives us confidence in how we’re demonstrating our environmental progress to our stakeholders.”