Starting from 15 April, Zalando will remove sustainability flags and environment-related icons displayed next to its products. It will stop using the phrase “sustainability” or any other terms indicating environmental benefits on its website and the filter icon.

Instead, the retailer’s “sustainability page” will be split into two comprehensive sections focusing on product standards, such as the percentage of recycled materials used and the company’s sustainability strategies. Additionally, it will verify the claims it makes and ensure they have a substantial environmental impact.

“After more than a year of intense work on our customer experience and close dialogue with the European Commission, we are pleased to have reached a mutual agreement,” Zalando told Just Style.

“Our proposals to improve the communication of sustainability-related information to customers have been accepted and the proceedings against us have been discontinued, subject to implementation of agreed changes.”

The e-tailor’s decision comes as the European Union is working on further enhancing regulations surrounding environmental claims.

According to EU law, companies are obligated to provide accurate information to consumers and refrain from employing misleading tactics to influence consumer choices.  

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Earlier this month, EU co-legislators reached an agreement on the directive, stipulating that companies must submit environmental claims for independent third-party verification before publicising them.

In the event of non-compliance, companies will be subject to penalties, including revenue confiscation and fines amounting to at least 4% of their annual turnover.

Zalando explained it supports a “standardised application” of existing policies to make sure no practices are used that could mislead customers. The company’s primary goal is to give its customers all that they require to make a more “informed purchasing decision” by being clearer about the product’s benefits.

“The outcome of our mutual agreement with the European Commission is a first step in providing clarity to the industry on what a compliant sustainability experience could look like,” Zalando added, urging EU policymakers for a “consistent” regulatory framework that is applied “fairly” to provide companies with legal certainty.

The German e-tailor is expected to submit a report to the EU’s Consumer Protection Cooperation Network to assess the implementation of commitments and enforce compliance if necessary.

In early February, environmental advocacy organisation filed a complaint against Lululemon for its “inconsistent” public claims of being environmentally positive.