Zalando commits to provide clearer information for consumer following EU action

Image by benzoix on FreepikImage by benzoix on Freepik

Following a dialogue with the Commission and national consumer authorities, Zalando has committed to removing misleading sustainability flags and icons displayed next to products offered on its platform. Such claims can mislead consumers about the environmental characteristics of the products. As from 15 April 2024, the icons will not appear anymore. Instead, clear information about products’ environmental benefits, such as the percentage of recycled materials used, will be provided by Zalando.

More specifically, Zalando committed to:

  • removing the initially used sustainability flag from all webpages.
  • removing all misleading environmental icons that were displayed next to products (such as a leaf or a tree).
  • no longer using the term “sustainability”, or other unjustified terms indicating an environmental and/or ethical benefit. Zalando will provide clear information about the specific product, for example, a percentage figure of how much recycled material is used.
  • removing the icons and the term ‘sustainability’ also from the filter and allowing consumers to filter and select products based on specific product qualities.
  • providing clear and specific information on the product’s environmental and/or ethical benefit at the product detail page.
  • revising the “Sustainability Page” by introducing two new webpages: one with more information on the product standards and one with information about Zalando’s sustainability-related approaches and strategies.
    ensuring that Zalando’s environmental claims are based on aspects which are significant for the environment.

Next Steps

Zalando will submit a report on the implementation of the commitments. Based on this report, the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC) will assess how Zalando implemented the commitments , and where necessary, enforce compliance, for example, by imposing fines or removing content.


Under EU rules, businesses must provide truthful information to consumers and have to refrain from misleading consumers to influence their choices. EU rules on unfair commercial practices enable national enforcers to curb a broad range of unfair business practices.

The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) is a network of authorities responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. To tackle cross-border issues, their actions are coordinated at EU level. The Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC), coordinated by the European Commission and led by four authorities from Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, started a coordinated action with Zalando in April 2022.

National authorities are responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. Thanks to the Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation, they have a common toolbox of strong powers to detect irregularities and take speedy and coordinated action against non-compliant traders. Moreover, the new Directive on better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules amended existing EU consumer law instruments by further enhancing transparency for consumers when they buy in online marketplaces.

The European Union is also in the process of toughening its legal framework on misleading environmental claims. Specifically, the Commission has made two proposals: Firstly, the Directive on empowering consumers in the green transition which was adopted by the European Parliament in January and the Council in February. The new rules amend the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive and the Consumer Rights Directive to ensure that consumers receive adequate information on the durability and reparability of a product before purchasing it. Secondly, the Commission proposed a Directive on the substantiation of green claims, which will make it easier for consumers to make sustainable purchasing choices and stop companies from making misleading claims about environmental merits of their products and services.

The proposed revisions in EU consumer law were announced in the New Consumer Agenda and the Circular Economy Action Plan. The revisions aim to support the changes needed in consumer behaviour to achieve climate and environmental objectives under the European Green Deal by ensuring that consumers are protected from commercial practices that prevent them from shopping more sustainably.