Lawsuit Filed Against FIJI Water For Greenwashing

The Newport Trial Group filed a class action lawsuit against the Fiji Water Company in the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, CA on behalf of Desiree Worthington and other individuals to seek restitution for “the false claims from which [Fiji Water Company has] richly profited.” The lawsuit alleges that the company made money from its claims that its water products are carbon negative.

According to the complaint:

“This case is very simple: Defendants convince consumers to buy their “FIJI” brand of bottled water – and to pay more for FIJI than for competing brands –by advertising and labeling FIJI as “The World’s Only CARBON NEGATIVE bottled water”. In other words, 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.”

A 2007 press release claimed that Fiji will offset 120 percent of its carbon emissions, and the “production and sale of each bottle of FIJI Water will actually result in a net reduction of carbon in the atmosphere.” The press release stated that Fiji would “account for the carbon footprint throughout the entire lifecycle of its products,” and the company would offset its emissions “through a combination of meaningful reductions and carbon-reducing land use and renewable energy projects.”

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is derived from crude oil, is used to make plastic water bottles. According to the Earth Policy Institute, making bottles to meet the U.S. demand for bottled water in 2006 required over 17 million barrels of oil a year, enough to fuel over one million cars for a year, and produced over 2.5 million tons of carbon. About 75 percent of the plastic water bottles are not recycled, according to Food & Water Watch. Plastic water bottles never completely decompose.

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.