The California Supreme Court issued a major ruling this week to substantially increase consumers' ability to challenge false and misleading advertising claims.
In a 5-2 decision, the State's highest court ruled that consumers have standing to challenge false and misleading claims without having to demonstrate a direct personal injury or financial loss. The case was a direct result of the turbulence created between consumers and businesses over Proposition 64 which aimed to reduce "frivolous lawsuits" about unfair and unlawful business practices.
With increased consumer demand for products and packaging with the smallest environmental footprint, many product makers and marketers have begun to ramp up environmental product claims, many of which are misleading or downright false.
To help combat this problem, Californians Against Waste has launched a statewide Environmental Advertising Compliance Campaign, in order to research, investigate and challenge environmental claims. To date, CAW has identified dozens of product makers who engage in "greenwashing". Up to this point, the primary means of enforcement has been to refer these cases to the State Attorney General and local district attorney's.
This Supreme Court decision affirms the responsibility of manufacturers to accurately label their products, and provides CAW and consumers with a direct path for challenging false claims.
Supreme Court Justice, Werdegar, "Simply stated: Labels matter."
Currently, our Enforcement Campaign is targeting bioplastic manufacturers who mislabel their products as "biodegradable," incorrectly cite scientific standards, as well as overrepresent the environmental impacts their products may have. This move by the court will inevitably increase pressure on these companies to obey Federal and Californian law, and provide truthful representations of their products so Californians can make environmentally conscious decisions, without the fear of being fed misinformation.
To learn more about out Enforcement Campaign and read about some of the companies we've targeted, click here.