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Our California Greenwashing Lawyers Protect Consumer Rights

Powerful corporations and even smaller businesses do not have the right to mislead consumers by greenwashing their products. Matern Law Group helps consumers hold these greenwashers accountable.

Consumer Product Greenwashing Violations Come in Many Forms

The attorneys at the Matern Law Group have many years of experience protecting consumers from a variety of unfair, deceptive, and predatory practices.

greenwashing products“Greenwashing” is the process of conveying a false impression or misleading information about how a company’s products are environmentally sound. Greenwashing involves making an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company’s products are environmentally friendly or have a greater positive environmental impact than is true.

In addition, greenwashing may occur when a company attempts to emphasize sustainable aspects of a product to overshadow the company’s involvement in environmentally damaging practices.

Performed through the use of environmental imagery, misleading labels, and hiding tradeoffs, greenwashing is a play on the term “whitewashing,” which means using false information to intentionally hide wrongdoing, error, or an unpleasant situation in an attempt to make it seem less bad than it is.

Companies can also greenwash initiatives with vague claims that don’t provide real data or scientific validation for the claims. Using terms like sustainable, green or eco-friendly — or just claiming to be “good for the planet” or “better for the environment” — can help organizations appear to be greener. However, these nonspecific terms can be — and often are — used without supporting evidence or facts that are easily relayed to the consumer.

As such, an organization is simply labeling or promoting a product or service as being green, when in fact there is no undeniable, verifiable evidence that it is somehow more environmentally sustainable.

The FTC offers several illustrations of greenwashing on its website, which details its voluntary guidelines for deceptive green marketing claims. Here are a few examples of unsubstantiated claims that would be considered greenwashing:

  • A plastic package containing a new shower curtain is labeled “recyclable.” It is not clear whether the package or the shower curtain is recyclable. In either case, the label is deceptive if any part of the package or its contents, other than minor components, cannot be recycled.
  • An area rug is labeled “50% more recycled content than before.” The manufacturer in fact increased the recycled content to 3% from 2%. Although technically true, the message conveys the false impression that the rug contains a significant amount of recycled fiber.
  • A trash bag is labeled “recyclable.” Trash bags are not ordinarily separated from other trash at the landfill or incinerator, so they are highly unlikely to be used again for any purpose. The claim is deceptive because it asserts an environmental benefit where no meaningful benefit exists.

If you believe you’ve been affected by product greenwashing and are a California resident, you may have legal claims to join a class action lawsuit or receive compensation. Please reach out to our experienced law team for a free consultation to learn more about your consumer rights.

Our Approach

Our Practices are Guided by Integrity. We’ll protect what you deserve.

We work tirelessly and fight tenaciously to hold rights abusers accountable.

If you’ve experienced a distressing incident related to an issue like this, call us for a free case evaluation.

Did You Know?

Greenwashing involves making an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company’s products are environmentally friendly or have a greater positive environmental impact than is true.

Is It Illegal, or Just Unfair?

Legal cases can be lengthy, complicated, and confusing, but you don’t have to take on the system all by yourself. If you believe someone has violated your individual rights, or the rights of a large group of people in your community, we can help you find the right course of action.

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