NGO Requests Investigation into Lululemon

Canadian apparel company Lululemon was called out recently by NGO alleging that the company is engaged in greenwashing. filed a complaint with the Canadian Competition Bureau arguing that Lululemon’s recent advertising touting their products’ low environmental impact is false and misleading. Lululemon’s 2020 “Impact Agenda” contained this statement from the company as a core pillar of the company’s sustainability strategy:

“Be planet. Our products and actions avoid environmental harm and contribute to restoring a healthy planet.” argues that this statement, and subsequent marketing campaigns derived from it are false stating in its complaint that:

“Since the start of the Be Planet campaign and in the face of a global climate crisis, the company’s greenhouse gas emissions have doubled. As well, the manufacture, transport and use of its products continue to create significant environmental harm: microplastics from Lululemon’s products are polluting our oceans and inland waters; landfills in countries around the world are collecting Lululemon’s discarded garments; fossil fuels are being used to power the factories of Lululemon’s suppliers and create their synthetic textiles; and the shipping of Lululemon’s products around the world is adding to greenhouse gas emissions as it also damages the marine environment.”

That’s quite the laundry list of environmental harm allegations. While the compliant acknowledges that Lululemon has made some efforts to improve sustainability, it argues that they are insufficient to support the company’s advertising. is asking the regulator to order the removal of the marketing campaign, require Lululemon to issue a public apology, and fine the company 3% of its annual worldwide gross revenues.

This is a great example of risks associated with advertising based on aspirations rather than facts. It is better to base advertisements on what your company is tangibly doing, rather than what it intends to do or what it wishes it could do. Additionally, vague statements about how products are “good for the environment” are unwise, and making statements that are not verifiable and backed by data can expose a company to serious legal risk.

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Photo credit: JHVEPhoto –

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