Canadian Competition Bureau to Scrutinise Lululemon Over Greenwashing Claims

Canada’s Competition Bureau has opened a formal investigation into athletic apparel retailer Lululemon’s environmental claims in its marketing campaigns.

According to a report from Canadian broadcaster CBC News, a spokesperson for the agency confirmed that the Competition Bureau “has commenced an investigation under the Competition Act into the alleged deceptive marketing practices.”

The agency added that there is no conclusion of wrongdoing, however as the Bureau is obligated by law to conduct its work confidentially, it cannot provide further details on the case at this time.

Stand.earth, the non-profit that filed the complaint against the global apparel giant accused it of greenwashing, announced on its website that the investigation had been opened.

The complaint, which Stand-earth filed in February, says Lululemon’s Be Planet sustainability campaign from 2020, in which the company said it would work to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, is contradicted by a 2022 impact report that outlined Lululemon’s progress in reaching its climate goals.

The impact report highlights the company’s Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions, indirect emissions that occur as a result of a company’s activities, including those produced by customers using its products, increased from about 471,100 tonnes in 2020 to 847,400 tonnes in 2022. Lululemon wrote in its report that this area “needs acceleration.”

The company also wrote in 2020 that it “leaned into investments and partnerships to develop sustainable materials that demonstrate our leadership in product innovation and environmental harm reduction.” 

A spokesperson for Lululemon said the company is aware of the move by the Competition Bureau and that it is committed to co-operating on any next steps.

“We are confident that its review will confirm that the representations we make to the public are accurate and well-supported,” the spokesperson said in a statement to CBC News.