S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. has reportedly agreed to settle putative class actions filed in California and Wisconsin federal courts alleging that the company falsely advertised its Windex products as good for the environment. Koh v. S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., 09-00927 (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Cal.); Petlack v. S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., No. 08-00820 (U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D. Wis.).
According to a news source, the company will not use its “Greenlist” logo on Windex products for one year; a company spokesperson said he believed the company had “a strong legal case,” but “could have been more transparent about what the logo signified.” He also apparently indicated that the company’s Greenlist process, based on internal “environmentally friendly” standards, “is such a fundamentally sound and excellent process we use to green our products, that we didn’t want consumers to be confused about it due to a logo on one product.” Under the terms of the agreement, the company will apparently be allowed to create and use a different Greenlist logo.
The plaintiffs reportedly alleged that the company’s window cleaners contain a synthetic ingredient that is toxic to animals and young children. Characterizing the company’s conduct as “greenwashing,” they reportedly claimed that the product representations violated their respective state consumer fraud laws. See Law360, July 8, 2011.