Fiji Water Faces Class Action Lawsuit for Greenwashing

Fiji bottled water photo
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Image: M Sundstrom via flickr

Fiji, probably the least favorite in an already disliked industry, is the target of a class action lawsuit alleging the company has profited from greenwashing. Specifically, from greenwashing claims that its products are carbon-negative. Ha.The California-based Newport Trial Group brought the suit in a U.S. District Court on behalf of individuals seeking restitution for these false claims, which are thought to be responsible for a significant amount of Fiji's increased market share.

Environmental Leader reports, quoting the filed complaint:

Defendants claim that they remove more carbon pollution from our atmosphere than they release into it. In reality, however, FIJI water is not "Carbon Negative." Instead, Defendants justify this claim by employing a discredited carbon accounting method known as "forward crediting." Thus, Defendants do not remove more carbon pollution than they create; they simply claim credit for carbon removal that may or may not take place - up to several decades in the future."

The company has said it calculates the carbon footprint of the full lifecycle of its products. Specifically, it says: "through a combination of meaningful reductions and carbon-reducing land use and renewable energy projects, the production and sale of each bottle of FIJI Water will actually result in a net reduction of carbon in the atmosphere by 120%."

The people bringing the lawsuit beg to differ. They say the carbon negative talk applies to offsets for carbon emissions in the future, rather than in the present.

More from Environmental Leader, quoting the complaint again:

"Standard offset credits" represent carbon reductions that have already taken place. By contrast, "forward offset credits" represent carbon reductions that may or may not take place up to several decades in the future."

Fiji, which already has a shaky reputation at best among environmentalists and human rights activists, has not commented on the suit.