The CMA's specific concerns about Unilever revolve around the use of vague language that could mislead consumers, ingredient claims that may exaggerate the "natural" aspects of a product, and recyclability claims lacking clarity on whether they pertain to the product itself or its packaging.

CMA Chief Executive Sarah Cardell expressed their reservations, stating, "The evidence we've seen has raised concerns about how Unilever presents certain products as environmentally-friendly. We will thoroughly examine these claims to determine their validity."

Unilever has refuted any allegations that its claims are misleading and has expressed surprise and disappointment at the CMA's announcement. The company intends to fully cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

Unilever Faces Investigation by UK Regulator

The UK regulator is currently investigating consumer-goods giant Unilever to determine whether the company has violated any consumer-protection laws. While the case may still be closed without further action, there are several possible outcomes that the regulator is considering.

One potential outcome is that Unilever will be required to implement changes in its operational practices. This could be in response to concerns raised during the investigation. Alternatively, the case may proceed to court if necessary.

This investigation comes as a setback for Unilever's new Chief Executive Hein Schumacher, who has been vocal about shifting the company's focus away from wide-ranging sustainability efforts. Previously, Unilever aimed to ensure that all its products had an environmental or social purpose. However, Schumacher has narrowed this focus to key areas such as climate and plastics.

As part of a broader industry review, the regulator plans to scrutinize environmental claims made by consumer-goods products both online and in physical stores. The focus will be on evaluating the legitimacy of broad statements, including assertions of a product being "sustainable" or "better" for the environment without supporting evidence. Additionally, claims regarding the use of recycled or natural materials and the level of recyclability of a product will also be examined.

In the United States, regulators are similarly working towards protecting consumers from misleading claims about recyclability and other vague assertions. The Federal Trade Commission is currently updating its Green Guides, which serve as guidelines for companies making green marketing claims.

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