Clothing retail chain H&M and sporting goods retail chain Decathlon have committed to the ACM to adjust or cease sustainability claims on their clothes and websites after an ACM investigation.

The two companies will also make donations of €500,000 and €400,000 respectively to a series of sustainable causes in compensation for misleading marketing. ACM has agreed in response not to impose any sanctions.

The ACM investigation specifically looked at how Decathlon and H&M used general terms such as “ecodesign” and “conscious” in product marketing without justifying this with clear explanations of sustainability benefits.

Cateautje Hijmans van den Bergh, Member of the Board of ACM, said: “Consumers that wish to make sustainable choices must be able to have confidence in the veracity of the claims that businesses make on their products or websites.

“We are pleased to see that these companies have acknowledged that they should have informed consumers more clearly about the sustainability aspects of their products, and that they will adjust various sustainability claims and their substantiations. They will also take measures to inform their customers better in the future.

“We also welcome their commitment to donate generous sums of money to sustainable causes as compensation for their vague sustainability claims. These donations go to independent organisations that contribute towards sustainability and clothing.”

H&M was criticised worldwide alongside other companies for its use of misleading Higg Material Sustainability Index data earlier this year, and warned by the Norwegian Consumer Agency.