Fiji Water Targeted by Class Action Lawsuit for Lying About Their Green Cred

Looks like Fiji Water has stepped in it again. Just last month the company announced they were shutting down operations in Fiji because the government was proposing a tax hike on bottling (they are exempt from paying income tax) and then a day later they did a quick about-face and re-opened deciding, I guess, that they could still make an extremely handsome profit from the bottled water racket.

Now, the company is apparently the target of a class-action lawsuit, Treehugger reported. It seems that Fiji Water has been trying to separate themselves from the competition by claiming that their water (in a plastic bottle, shipped around the world) is actually really green. So green in fact that it is entirely carbon negative.

But a lawsuit from Newport Trial Group claims otherwise. Environmental Leader has the details:

According to the complaint, Fiji Water Company has gained significant market share from its carbon negative claim:

"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."

In other words their claims of carbon negativity look like a lot of smoke and mirrors. This is not shocking if you know a bit about how the company does business (hint: it's not pretty -- check out this awesome piece by Anna Lenzer for the details). Ironically, Fiji Water has been short-listed by the U.S. State Department for a Corporate Excellence Award -- which is beginning to look about as laughable as Fiji Water’s enviro cred.

AlterNet / By Tara Lohan

Posted at December 30, 2010, 9:17am

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