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Canada’s Competition Bureau Opens Greenwashing Investigation of Lululemon

A complaint by climate-advocacy group Stand.earth prompted the inquiry.
A Lululemon sign hangs outside one of the brand's stores.
Lululemon. (Shutterstock)

Canada’s competition bureau has opened an investigation into Lululemon’s sustainability marketing, advancing a complaint lodged by climate-advocacy group Stand.earth against the Vancouver-based activewear brand.

In February, Stand.earth had asked the agency, which polices practices such as deceptive advertising, to investigate whether Lululemon’s “Be Planet” messaging misled consumers. It alleged the brand benefitted from a “carefully constructed image of environmental sustainability and wellness” that conflicted with its fast-growing emissions. Lululemon said at the time it remained committed to its decarbonisation plan.

“We are aware of the Canadian Competition Bureau’s review and are committed to cooperating on any next steps,” Lululemon said in a statement. “We are confident that its review will confirm that the representations we make to the public are accurate and well-supported.”

Advocacy groups have used greenwashing investigations by Canada’s competition bureau to their advantage in the past. In 2022, following an investigation based on a complaint by environmental law organisation Ecojustice, the bureau hit coffee maker Keurig with a fine of CA$3 million ($2.2 million) for misleading claims about the recyclability of its single-use coffee pods. Shell abandoned a campaign centred on its use of carbon offsets earlier this year after Greenpeace asked the bureau to examine its claims.

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Corporate greenwashing has become a priority for Canada’s competition bureau. In March, the agency’s commissioner, Matthew Boswell, asked Canada’s government for more power to fight the problem.


Learn more:

Can Fashion Stop Greenwashing?

Big brands are changing the way they talk about sustainability following a regulatory crackdown in Europe. But exactly how companies should be required to substantiate their eco-marketing claims remains hotly debated.

Editor's Note: This article was updated on May 6, 2024, to include comment from Lululemon.

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