An environmental activist group, Stand.earth, has decried Lululemon’s ethics in lying about their claims of being a “green company.”
Because of this, Stand.earth has decided to make a complaint to the Competition Bureau Canada.
Stand.earth is an organization that began by advocating for old-growth forests in BC in the early 1990s and has since been fighting for environmentalism across North America, with offices in Vancouver; Bellingham, Washington; and San Francisco, California.
On Tuesday, February 12th, they held a press conference in which they denounced the company Lululemon for making misleading and untrue claims of creating an environmentally positive impact.
With Lululemon’s origins also being rooted in Vancouver, Stand.earth says that they are one of Canada’s most influential companies and one of the world’s biggest fashion brands.
In addition to this, Stand.earth says that Lululemon consistently “presents itself in its advertisement campaigns as a company whose actions and products contribute to a healthier environment and planet.”
However, the complaint being made is that the fashion company’s practices are inconsistent with their messaging.
“Lululemon claims to ‘Be Planet’ but their own reporting shows that they have doubled carbon pollution since making the claim,” said Tzeporah Berman, International Program Director at Stand.earth.
“They benefit from a carefully constructed image of environmental sustainability and wellness, and claim to make products that contribute to a healthy environment, but their exponential growth has been built on fossil fuels, from clothing literally made from fracked gas to polluting manufacturing that threatens the health of communities in the Global South.”
“Lululemon’s mantra is supposedly ‘Be Planet,’ when in reality it’s ‘Be Profit,’” she continued.
Two of Stand.earth’s biggest gripes with Lululemon is that their reporting shows a 100% increase in greenhouse gas emissions since launching the slogan and over 60% of the materials used in their clothing are derived from fossil fuels.
What the activists expect the Competition Bureau Canada to reinforce is that Lululemon takes back what they have said and moves forward making “clear and accurate environmental claims that avoid exaggeration.”
The phenomenon of twisting advertisement messaging to claim to be “green” is now called “greenwashing” and lately it has been more prominent.
One such example is Shell’s recent “drive carbon neutral” ad campaign which the Competition Bureau Canada found to be misleading, forcing the oil magnate to remove the ads.
“Based on how Lululemon’s marketing claims contrast with their reliance on fossil fuels in the majority of their products and their growing emissions, this definitely seems to fit my own oft-cited definition of greenwash as ‘communication that misleads people into adopting overly positive beliefs about an organization’s environmental performance, practices, or products,’” said Wren Montgomery, PhD, Associate Professor of Management and Sustainability at Western University and Co-Founder of the Greenwash Action Lab.
“In my expert opinion, as well as as a Canadian citizen and consumer who cares about the planet, this is just the type of corporate communication that the Competition Bureau should be examining carefully for greenwashing.”
On their website, Stand.earth has a petition in which they have garnered nearly 47,000 signatures of their 50,000 goal, asking Lululemon to step up and make its leggings and apparel using clean, renewable energy.
Victoria Buzz reached out to Lululemon regarding the complaint that has been filed against them, but as of this publication have not received a response.