The environmental defense association Zero Waste France announced on Wednesday June 22 that it had filed a complaint with the courts of Strasbourg and Paris against the sports equipment manufacturers Adidas and New Balance for “deceptive marketing practices”. She accuses the two groups of only taking “facade commitments” on their environmental practices.
Greenwashing, a “scourge” for associations
The association accuses the equipment manufacturers of communicating “shamelessly and disproportionately on commitments” environmental while in practice they “change almost nothing to their production model”. She attacks slogans in particular « Made to be remade » (made to be reused) or « end plastic waste » (let’s end plastic waste) from Adidas. These are associated with certain products of the brand “without saying a word about the environmental impact of recycled polyester or the technical impossibility of its infinite recycling”.
As for New Balance, it is its « norme Green leaf » (green leaf) that Zero Waste France is targeting. The association denounces a great vagueness covering a multitude of realities (…) and without information on the end of life of the product”.
“It is time for justice to take up the scourge of greenwashing and for fast-fashion brands to understand that they are illegal when they claim that selling sneakers made from recycled materials helps fight plastic pollution”explains Alice Elfassi, legal manager of the NGO, quoted in the press release.
2% of greenhouse gas emissions each year
The complaint is part of the campaign launched by Zero Waste France aiming to alert on the environmental impact of ephemeral fashion, or fast fashion, which would be responsible each year for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. . That is as much as international air transport and maritime traffic combined, according to the Ecological Transition Agency (Ademe). Fashion is also the third largest consumer of water, behind the cultivation of wheat and rice, with a use of 4% of available drinking water, according to the same source.
At the beginning of March, the NGOs Greenpeace France, Friends of the Earth France and Notre Affaire à Tous had already taken TotalEnergies to court for “deceptive marketing practices”. They questioned its stated ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and the presentation of gas as fossil energy “the cleanest”.