You won't believe who's being accused of greenwashing
S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. has spent millions on becoming a model of sustainability -- everything from using renewable energy, changing the formulation of products like Saran wrap, and launching recycling efforts. So I was quite surprised today to see this report from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on a lawsuit accusing the consumer products company with greenwashing. Specifically, the suit questions the Racine, Wis.-based company's use of a proprietary "Greenlist" logo on its products. The complaint, which seeks class-action status, says the Greenlist seal is misleading, because S.C. Johnson itself is the party judging the products' environmental attributes. The Journal Sentinel's Rick Romell reports that the company isn't backing down. S.C. Johnson says Greenlist criteria was reviewed by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. It also won an award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and it claims that complying with the Greenlist goals has helped the company eliminate nearly 48 million pounds of volatile organic compounds from its products in the last five years. Given the company's commitment to sustainability, I think the lawyers have targeted the firm with this suit. Yes, S.C. Johnson has deep pockets, and it makes a attractive target because of the high profile it has taken on sustainability issues. But S.C. Johnson has walked the walk, and it would be a mistake to think they'll throw money at this lawsuit to get it settled.
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