Environmental advocacy group Stand.earth announced on Monday its submission of an anti-competition complaint to the Competition Bureau Canada against Canadian fashion giant Lululemon.
The complaint alleges that Lululemon has been misleading customers regarding its environmental impact.
Lululemon has long presented itself as a champion of environmental sustainability. However, Stand.earth’s complaint challenges this image, asserting that Lululemon’s business practices do not align with its publicized commitment to be an environmentally positive company.
Stand.earth’s complaint revolves around Lululemon’s self-proclaimed slogan, ‘Be Planet’ juxtaposed against its Impact Report findings, which revealed a 100% increase in climate pollution since adopting the slogan.
“Lululemon claims to ‘Be Planet’ but their own reporting shows that they have doubled carbon pollution since making the claim,” said Tzeporah Berman, international program director at Stand.earth.
“They benefit from a carefully constructed image of environmental sustainability and wellness, and claim to make products that contribute to a healthy environment, but their exponential growth has been built on fossil fuels, from clothing literally made from fracked gas to polluting manufacturing that threatens the health of communities in the Global South. Lululemon’s mantra is supposedly ‘Be Planet,’ when in reality it’s ‘Be Profit.’”
Additionally, over 60% of Lululemon’s materials are derived from fossil fuels, which contribute to climate pollution, cannot be effectively recycled, do not biodegrade, and release microplastics in the oceans and waterways.
“Lululemon states that its ‘products and actions avoid environmental harm and contribute to restoring a healthy planet,’ however, its products are made in factories that burn coal for energy, and are made in countries including Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia that rely heavily on fossil fuels to power their production,” added Rachel Kitchin, senior corporate climate campaigner at Stand.earth.
“Despite these claims, some of the company’s biggest suppliers have made no clear strides towards reducing their negative impact on the planet. I would call that greenwashing. If Lululemon wants its words to ring true, it should immediately commit to kicking out coal, and shifting its products from fossil fuels to clean energy.”
As of this month, nearly 50,000 community members have signed a letter urging Lululemon to transition to clean, renewable energy sources for its manufacturing processes.
The filing of this complaint comes amidst a global trend of increased scrutiny on greenwashing by major corporations, filed with the federal the Competition Bureau in recent months.
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