Giants of the bottled water industry admits to greenwashing
The attorneys for bottled water company BlueTriton admitted that its environmental claims were false. They insisted the greenwashing was non-actionable because the statements were aspirational.
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“Many of the statements at issue here constitute non-actionable puffery,” BlueTriton’s attorneys wrote in a motion to dismiss, as reported by The Intercept. “BlueTriton’s representation of itself as ‘a guardian of sustainable resources’ and ‘a company who, at its core, cares about water’ is vague and hyperbolic. Because these statements are ‘couched in aspirational terms,’ they cannot serve as the basis for Plaintiff’s CPPA claim.”
Well, I’ll admit I’m personally relieved. I plan to add “world’s greatest writer, thinker and international molder of opinion” to my email signature. The sky’s the limit when you only have to aspire.
BlueTriton owns Arrowhead, Poland Spring, Pure Life, Ozarka and other notable brands. All that pure and lovely water contributes hundreds of millions of plastic pounds to landfills annually. Of course, none of that plastic trash is featured among the pine trees and happy hikers on BlueTriton’s Instagram page and other marketing materials.
Earth Island Institute got fed up with this cognitive dissonance and sued BlueTriton last August. The environmental group claimed that the bottled water giant’s erroneous sustainability claims violate the Consumer Protection Procedures Act. The local Washington, D.C. law is crafted to stop deceptive trade practices. In other words, BlueTriton is on trial for greenwashing.
Several brands owned by the company have touted the recyclability of their plastic bottles. Earth Island Institute said this is not good enough.
“You can’t claim to be a sustainable company while using plastic as your primary packaging,” said Sumona Majumdar, general counsel at the Earth Island Institute, as reported by The Intercept. “Maybe there was a time when, as a company, you might have thought our plastic is getting recycled and getting turned back into plastic. But at this point, everybody knows that’s not true.”
Via The Intercept