Nike defeats lawsuit accusing it of greenwashing its products


(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Nike has dodged a potential lawsuit following a judge's dismissal of the case due to insufficient evidence.

Judge Matthew Schlep of the Eastern District of Missouri sided with Nike in the suit brought forth by Maria Ellis, who accused the company of falsely promoting products as sustainable and eco-friendly.

Schlep noted that Ellis failed to provide plausible facts supporting her claims, emphasizing the absence of evidence such as material testing, whistleblower testimony, or manufacturing process knowledge.

This ruling underscore the rigorous standard consumers must meet to prove greenwashing in court, despite its reported prevalence across industries.

According to a Harris Poll survey, most executives acknowledge overstating sustainability efforts within their own companies and anticipate widespread greenwashing in their respective industries.

Nike's recently published Impact Report reaffirms its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and waste while exploring material reuse options.

Ellis alleged that only a small fraction of Nike's "Sustainability" collection consists of recycled materials, with the majority being plastic-based. The lawsuit highlights the environmental impact of synthetic materials like polyester, which release microplastics during washing, posing a significant threat to marine life.

The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance advises companies to substantiate product claims and avoid unsupported assertions to mitigate the risk of greenwashing lawsuits.

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