“Greenwashing” is “concerning,” but not deceptive, holds Ninth Circuit

A customer brought a consumer class action against Procter & Gamble over its use of the phrase “Nature Fusion,” along with a picture of an avocado, on certain products’ bottles, claiming it was an unfair and deceptive business practice and false advertising under California law, misleading consumers into thinking the product was natural. A Ninth Circuit panel affirmed the district court’s conclusion that the term “Nature Fusion” was ambiguous, and the packages’ labels, listing ingredients, made it clear the product was not natural. Judge Gould, who wrote the majority opinion, wrote a separate concurring opinion joined by Judge Berzon, expressing his view “that P&G’s labeling nonetheless resembles a concerning practice known as ‘greenwashing.'” The brief concurrence notes the proliferation of terms like “green” and “natural” in product marketing, and points to FTC guidance and academic literature on the subject.

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