New Suit On Alba Botanica ‘Reef Compatible’ Sunscreen Illustrates Pitfalls Of A Company’s Eco-Friendly Advertising | Baker

A new false advertising case against sunscreen manufacturer Alba Botanica demonstrates the risks of marketing a company’s environmental credentials. In a recent article, “The difficult art of advertising carbon reductions”, Linda Goldstein and Randal Shaheen of BakerHostetler discussed the potential application of Section 5 (a) of the FTC Act’s prohibition on“ Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices ”against companies that claim to offer products greens or advertise their carbon reductions. The Alba Botanica case shows how consumers can file claims under similar state laws and offers more reasons for companies to ensure that their environmental claims are sufficiently substantiated or qualified.

In her Complaint filed on October 20, 2021 in the Southern District of California (Case No.3: 21-cv-01794), Heidi Anderberg, on behalf of herself and a proposed group, alleges that Hain Celestial Group violated the California law by falsely announcing its Alba Botanica sunscreen is “reef compatible,” when in fact sunscreen contains chemicals that could damage coral reefs and other marine life (and have been banned in some parts of the United States for this reason). She contends that she and other consumers paid more for Alba products than the cheaper alternatives because they believed they were safe for the environment.

Anderberg introduces five causes of action under the California Business & Professional Code and the Commercial Code for false advertising and breach of warranty, including claims under the Unfair Competition Act (“UCL”) (§§ 17200, et seq.), the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”) (§§ 1750, et seq.), and the Law on False Advertising (“FAL”) (§§ 175000, et seq. and 17535). UCL defines unfair competition as “illegal, unfair or fraudulent business practices”. The CLRA prohibits sellers from “declaring that products have … characteristics, ingredients … advantages or quantities that they do not”, “represent that the products or services are of a standard, of a particular quality or category … “and” to advertise goods or services. with the intention of not selling them as advertised. The FAL prohibits advertising “which is false or misleading, and which is known, or which, through the exercise of due diligence, should be known to be false or misleading”.

Among other allegations, Anderberg claims that Hain made false claims and omissions in the Alba Botanica advertisement as “compatible with reefs” and that he knew or should have known that its labeling and marketing would be likely to mislead a consumer. reasonable. Ironically, the complaint also notes that the products are labeled with the Hawaiian term even though the chemicals they contain are “prohibited on Hawaiian beaches.” The lawsuit seeks injunction and declaratory judgment, restitution and restitution, and punitive damages.

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