H&M beats lawsuit accusing it of greenwashing its fast fashion wares

Read the full story from The Fashion Law.

H&M has beaten a proposed class action lawsuit over its alleged scheme of greenwashing its fast fashion wares. By marketing its Conscious collection products as “sustainable” or “environmentally friendly” when they are not, the plaintiffs argued in the suit they filed last year that H&M was running afoul of California and Missouri state laws. In an order on May 12, Judge Rodney Sippel of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri disagreed and sided with the Swedish fast fashion giant, dismissing Mark Doten’s claims due to a lack of personal jurisdiction, and fellow Plaintiff Abraham Lizama’s causes of action for failure to adequately allege his claims against H&M. 

Nike faces lawsuit over greenwashing claims

Read the full story at Retail Dive.

A Missourian last week filed a complaint against Nike in federal court, alleging the sports apparel maker “falsely and misleadingly markets” products as sustainable and environmentally friendly.

The lawsuit cites the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides, which educate companies on what could constitute deceptive advertising around sustainability claims. The guidance is limited, though, because it isn’t a set of enforceable rules or regulations, according to John Conway, CEO of Astonish Media Group.

The new EU law that’s looking to stamp out greenwashing

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Another month, another progressive policy announcement from the European Union, this time aimed at stamping out greenwashing by companies operating within its borders.

Can corporate greenwashing be proven empirically? Maybe.

Read the full story in Anthropocene Magazine.

In a first-of-its-kind global assessment, researchers found that having a sustainability board or an official climate-change initiative has little effect or even worsens a company’s carbon emissions.

How dark money groups led Ohio to redefine gas as ‘green energy’

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

When Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed a bill this month to legally redefine natural gas as a source of “green energy,” supporters characterized it as the culmination of a grass-roots effort to recognize the Buckeye state’s largest energy source.

“It’s green. It’s clean. And it’s abundant right under our feet, right here in Ohio,” Rep. Troy Balderson (R-Ohio) wrote in an opinion piece in the Columbus Dispatch.

But Ohio’s new law is anything but homegrown, according to documents reviewed by The Washington Post. The Empowerment Alliance, a dark money group with ties to the gas industry, helped Ohio lawmakers push the narrative that the fuel is clean, the documents show. The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, another anonymously funded group whose donors remain a mystery, assisted in the effort.

ALEC — a network of state lawmakers, businesses and conservative donors — circulated proposed legislation for Ohio lawmakers and has urged other states to follow suit, according to the documents, which were obtained via a public records request by the Energy and Policy Institute, a group that advocates for renewable energy.

Rules for a net-zero energy strategy

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

This week, a United Nations-sponsored panel took aim at greenwashing, creating a framework for what a credible net-zero emissions plan looks like. The report, “Integrity Matters: Net zero commitments by businesses, financial institutions, cities and regions,” outlines the best thinking of 17 climate experts from around the world. 

The outcome is 10 recommendations that could be used as a rubric for how seriously a company is taking its climate pledges and, hopefully, bring more integrity and trust to climate commitments across the board. 

Net zero loses its meaning as fossil fuel industry plays carbon trading games

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

Lakes, rivers, reservoirs and other bodies of water are evaporating, running dry before our very eyes. Floods are washing out natural areasneighborhoods and even entire regions across the globe. Hurricanes are pummeling coastlines. Forests are burning at unprecedented rates around the world — from worsening fire seasons as well as intentional destruction in the name of growth. Islands are sinking. Populations are losing their homes and their livelihoods. People are dying. Transitioning to a carbon-neutral society isn’t just some lofty goal for corporations to tout to ESG investors — it is imperative for our survival on this planet. And yet – according to a joint report by the Global Forest Coalition, Corporate Accountability and Friends of the Earth International – net zero has been co-opted by some of the worst polluters out there. As such, these initiatives act as public relations stunts for corporations while failing to deliver legitimate reductions in carbon emissions and all the while preventing any actual accountability.

Will ‘carbon neutral’ claims land brands in legal hot water? Danone sued over Evian eco claims

Read the full story at Food Navigator USA.

Could ‘carbon neutral’ claims land food & beverage brands in legal hot water, even where they are certified by a third party such as the Carbon Trust? FoodNavigator-USA asked attorneys to weigh in after Danone Waters America found itself at the receiving end of a lawsuit.

If a company pledges to source from a ‘regenerative’ farm, what does that really mean?

Read the full story at Ag Daily.

I received an email from a marketer touting the latest announcement from a well-known baking-goods company. She informed me that the company was committed to sustainability and mitigating their carbon footprint. To become more sustainable, the company pledged to source all of its wheat from farmers using regenerative production methods. Now to be fair, this was only one of several promises, but obviously it was the one that caught my attention.

So I did something absolutely crazy. I asked her how they define regenerative agriculture.

I anticipated her response. She said the company has a “fluid definition” without set standards and practices. But generally it meant more carbon in the soil and better soil health.

I agreed with her that farms shouldn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach — and I really meant it. What works for a farm in southern California won’t work for one near the beaches of Lake Michigan. The best production practices involve a calculation on a farm-to-farm basis that keeps in mind weather, soil type, seasons, and the crop involved. And most farmers are focusing more and more on healthy soils and the things they can do to promote them.

She gave me the right answer. But doesn’t that make the company’s pledge a bit wishy-washy?

For Shein and other fast fashion offenders, ESG-washing is not the answer

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

If reports are to be believed, Chinese fast-fashion behemoth Shein is trying to make amends, shifting its image to justify a steadily dropping $100 billion valuation ahead of an ambitious IPO in 2024. It’s got a lot of work to do. While the company controls most of the category at 28 percent, racking in $15.7 billion in sales 2021, it’s also among the worst in environmental sustainability, social justice and corporate governance (ESG). To keep prices low, and to stay relatively free of regulation, it relies on suppliers in China, where the Uyghur populations suffer forced labor and dangerous working conditions. Also, with wasteful environmental practices ingrained in its model, fast fashion is so harmful that most regulators believe it is irredeemable. As the king of fast fashion, Shein has a lot to answer for.

Still, as the company hires new sustainability-focused leaders and promises a new conscious approach, its efforts to market an enthusiastic ambition to jump on the ESG bandwagon should put it on the path to redemption, right? Not quite.