NEW YORK — Danone Waters of North America, a business of Danone SA, is facing a class-action lawsuit over a carbon-neutral claim on packaging and labeling for its Evian water brand.
In the lawsuit filed Oct. 13 in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, plaintiff Stephanie Dorris claimed reasonable consumers seeing the label and packaging would believe the manufacturing of Evian products is sustainable and does not leave a carbon footprint. However, carbon dioxide still is released into the atmosphere when the product is manufactured. Thus, the carbon-neutral claim is false and misleading, according to the lawsuit.
“Evian is deeply committed to sustainability,” Paris-based Danone said. “While we cannot comment on active litigation, each year we measure carbon emissions across all life cycle stages of an Evian bottle, and we continuously strive to reduce that footprint.
“Our bottling site runs on 100% renewable energy, and we have reduced the site’s absolute energy consumption by 28% since 2008. We partner with the Livelihoods Carbon Fund, which has planted 130 million trees so far, sequestering carbon emissions from the atmosphere. Evian products are certified carbon neutral to PAS 2060 — the only recognized international standard for carbon neutrality — by the Carbon Trust. Independent assessments like this further demonstrate our commitment to sustainability and environmental preservation throughout our work.”
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines carbon-neutral as “having or resulting in no net addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere,” but the lawsuit pointed to a Morning Consult survey conducted in July that showed 30% of Americans said they did not know what carbon neutral meant and another 29% identified the term incorrectly. Forty-one percent correctly identified the term.
Danone Waters of North America, White Plains, NY, purchases carbon credits to offset the carbon emissions, but this explanation does not appear on the product’s labeling or packaging, and nothing directs consumers to a Danone website or any other source for a definition, according to the lawsuit.The lawsuit seeks a jury trial.