VANCOUVER — A non-profit organization in British Columbia announced Monday that it has asked the Competition Bureau of Canada to investigate athletic-wear giant Lululemon, claiming the company misleads customers about its environmental impacts. Is misleading.
A statement from Stand.Earth said Lululemon has been using the “Be Planet” slogan as part of its “impact agenda” released in 2020, but the company’s own reporting shows that since then greenhouse- Gas emissions have doubled.
Lululemon’s 2022 impact report says its “products and actions help lead the industry toward a climate-stable future where nature and people thrive.”
It says the Vancouver-based company aims to meet a series of climate action targets by 2030, including a 60 percent reduction in emissions intensity for “Scope 3” operations, manufacturing and shipping clothing globally.
But the Lululemon report cited by Stand.Earth shows that total emissions for that category rose to about 1.7 million tons, up from about 830,000 tons in 2020.
The 2022 report said those “Scope 3” activities represent 99.7 percent of the company’s total carbon footprint. It shows that in 2022, 16 percent of emissions came from raw materials and 26.8 percent from manufacturing, while energy consumption in shops and offices was only 0.3 percent.
Rachel Kitchen, senior corporate climate campaigner at Stand.Earth, said that Lululemon claims its products are good for the planet, but more than 60 percent of the ingredients in its products are made directly from fossil fuels.
The company’s clothes are made in factories that operate on fossil fuels, including coal, he said at a press conference, adding that Lululemon has favored shipping by aviation rather than ocean freight, an option that is more damaging to the climate. .
He added, “If Lululemon wants its word to be true, the company needs to have a clear path to phase out fossil fuels from its products and manufacturing and commit to transitioning its supply chain to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.” Needed.”
In response, a statement issued Monday quoting a company representative said Lululemon is focused on “helping build a clothing industry that is more sustainable and addresses the serious impacts of climate change. “
“We are committed to working directly with our suppliers, industry partners, civil society and policy makers,” it added. The company has contributed $10 million to a fund aimed at accelerating climate action in the global apparel industry.
The statement said Lululemon is investing in its “decarbonization plan,” which aims to become a “net-zero company” with a 90 percent reduction in emissions by 2050.
It said Lululemon has so far met its goals to power its facilities with renewable electricity, cutting emissions by 60 percent.
The statement said the company believes the majority of its carbon footprint comes from emissions “within the broader supply chain.”
Tziporah Berman, Stand.Earth’s international program director, said at the press conference that Lululemon’s branding amounts to “greenwashing”, claiming to be a climate steward while pocketing the profits associated with rising emissions.
He said, “Two years after bringing this issue to the attention of senior management at Lululemon, the company has failed to take action, yet they have intensified their greenwashing and their message that they are a planet leader.”
“With annual revenues of more than US$8 billion, Lululemon can afford to position itself as a leader in sustainability,” Berman said.
He said, “Lululemon stands out as a company that has the opportunity to make great change in the world and has the biggest gap between their rhetoric and what they’re actually doing on the ground.”
The Competition Bureau confirmed on Monday that it had received a complaint from Stand.Earth accusing Lululemon of engaging in deceptive marketing practices.
Christopher Rusnak, a lawyer for Vancouver-based Stand.Earth, told a news conference that nine individuals had filed the request.
The Feb. 8 document says the applicants acknowledge that Lululemon is “taking steps to reduce the environmental harm caused by its business and products,” and that the request is not a criticism of those efforts.
Rather, it says the criticism is directed at the company’s marketing campaign, which “goes too far” by creating the impression that Lululemon’s actions and products are making positive contributions to a healthy environment and the planet.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2024.
Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press