National Advertising Division Finds Certain Environmental Benefit Claims for Everlane ReNew Clothing Supported; Recommends Modification of Others

For Immediate Release
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs

703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org

New York, NY – November 16, 2021 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs determined that Everlane, Inc. provided a reasonable basis for the following environmental benefit claims for its ReNew line of clothing:

  • “No New Plastic: There are already over 8 billion tons of plastic on our planet—and they’re not going away. So in 2018, we set out to remove virgin plastic from our  entire supply chain by 2021.” 
  • “Recycled Materials: This product is made from recycled plastic bottles, diverting waste from landfills and lessening dependency on fossil fuels.”
  • “To date, we have recycled over nine million plastic bottles.”
  • “The parka - 60 plastic bottles renewed”
  • “The half zip - 15 plastic bottles renewed”
  • “The sweatshirt - 15 plastic bottles renewed”

 

However, NAD recommended that the claim “Safer For The Environment: This product is dyed with bluesign®-approved dyes, which are safer for dyehouse workers and better for the environment,” be modified to explain that Bluesign is an independent third-party certification designed to remove harmful chemicals from the manufacturing process.

In doing so, NAD noted that:

  • Everlane’s adoption of Bluesign certification is at a nascent stage. At present, 12 percent of Everlane’s mills (fabric suppliers) and 10 percent of its factories (finished goods suppliers) are Bluesign-certified; and 
  • This is a qualified environmental benefit claim which limits the safety benefit to use of bluesign-approved dyes pursuant to this independent third-party standard designed to remove many harmful chemicals from the manufacturing process. 

 

Because the “Safer for the Environment” claim in context does not make clear that chemical safety is one aspect of an environmental impact assessment, or that Everlane’s use of Bluesign is in a nascent stage, NAD recommended that the claim be further qualified to note Bluesign’s limited environmental impact on manufacturing practices and Everlane’s nascent incorporation of Bluesign certification in its clothing line. 

The claims, which appeared on the advertiser’s website related to its ReNew line of clothing, were challenged by NAD as part of its independent routine monitoring of truth and transparency in U.S. national advertising. 

 

 

Aspirational and Recycled Materials Claims

NAD determined that the “No New Plastic” claim is a qualified environmental benefit claim because it is limited to a specific environmental benefit – removing all virgin plastic from its supply chain. NAD noted that the advertiser’s webpage explains how far Everlane has come in achieving this goal. 

As support for the “No New Plastic” and “Recycled Materials” claims, Everlane indicated that it complies with GRS. GRS is a voluntary international standard that relies on well-established international and regulatory guidance for what constitutes recycled content, including the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims and International Organization of Standardization Standard (ISO) 14021 (for example, pre- or post-consumer waste). GRS also has established stringent rules for third-party certification of chain of custody (or traceability) of recycled materials, content claims, social and environmental production practices, and chemical restrictions across manufacturing processes.

 

Claims Regarding the Number of Recycled Bottles 

NAD determined that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for the challenged claims as to the number of recycled bottles used in the identified garments, as well as the number of bottles it has recycled:

  • “To date, we have recycled over nine million plastic bottles.”
  • “The parka - 60 plastic bottles renewed”
  • “The half zip -15 plastic bottles renewed”
  • “The sweatshirt - 15 plastic bottles renewed”

 

Everlane explained that its mills and yarn spinners work with plastic pellet producers to calculate the quantity of plastic needed to produce a fixed amount of recycled polyester yarns. The mills then use this information to calculate the amount of plastic used to create the finished fabric per yard, based on the quantity of yarn needed. An industry standard (average) bottle size is used to represent the “number of bottles” equivalent to the total plastics consumption. The mills then quote the kilos of plastic as well as the number of bottles per yard of each ReNew fabric sold to Everlane. 

To support the challenged claims, Everlane multiplied the quantities per yard of fabric by the average garment yield, to arrive at the final bottle count per garment. Further, NAD noted that the total number of bottles recycled is based on the number of garments Everlane has produced since 2018.

Finally, during the pendency of the proceeding, the advertiser permanently discontinued the claims:

  • “Plastic is a really big problem, we use it constantly sometimes without even realizing. And more is being made every day. What if we could take the plastic that is already here and turn it into something meaningful . . . Turns out we can. Introducing Renew. A collection of outerwear made from discarded plastic bottles, about 3 million of them. . . . Made to last for decades instead of seconds. Its Outerwear with an outlook”; and 
  • “[Number increasing quickly to the millions] plastic bottles made since you landed on this page.”

 

Therefore, NAD did not review these claims on the merits.

NAD noted that it appreciated Everlane's demonstrated commitment to sustainability efforts and the comprehensive efforts it has undertaken to ensure that its claims are supported.

In its advertiser statement, Everlane stated that it “agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations” and noted that it was “happy to work with the NAD to share information that supports our claims around our environmental initiatives.”

All BBB National Programs case decision summaries can be found in the case decision library. For the full text of NAD, NARB, and CARU decisions, subscribe to the online archive.

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About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.

About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.  

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