Higg MSI Controversy Fingered In Sustainability Labeling Trends
Flagging growth in sustainable labeling indicates apparel brands may be shifting their environmental efforts and growing more sensitive to greenwashing accusations, recent Centric Pricing data suggests. In the U.K. and Germany, counts fell consistently throughout the year, falling 48 percent and 54 percent, respectively, by January 1.
Centric Pricing attributed the drops "In part" to last year's Higg Materials Sustainability Index controversy.
Though counts of certified sustainable products were already on the decline in the first half of the year, this downward trend accelerated in the second half, after the Sustainable Apparel Coalition removed the published Higg Index seal and scorecard from participating online retail platforms. On the consumer side, demand for sustainable goods grew in 2022, with sold-out rates rising 23 percent for certified sustainable products, Centric Pricing found.
These rates grew just 12 percent for generically labeled sustainable products and 9 percent for everything else.
In Germany, the average original price of certified sustainable products jumped 31 percent year over year, significantly faster than the 19 percent increase generic sustainable products experienced and above the 17 percent bump of all other products. In the U.S. and U.K., inflation proved much more dramatic, with prices of certified sustainable products up 75 percent and 116 percent year over year, respectively.
Flagging growth in sustainable labeling indicates apparel brands may be shifting their environmental efforts and growing more sensitive to greenwashing accusations, recent Centric Pricing data suggest.