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| 1 minute read

ESG (environmental, social, and governance) lawsuits predicted to increase in 2024.

I've posted about “greenwashing” litigation in the past and how these cases began to proliferate in 2023. Experts are now predicting that trend will continue into 2024, as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) prepares to update its “Green Guides” to clarify the proper use of ESG claims in product marketing and advertising. 

The FTC is apparently looking at how consumers interpret and understand statements about a products' recyclability, composability and degradability, all of which have been fertile ground for litigation. In addition, companies who allegedly fail to disclose material ESG related risks associated with their products are also exposed to possible lawsuits. In 2021, a major beverage manufacturer was sued by the Earth Island Institute because it made ESG claims in its marketing, yet allegedly generated more plastic pollution than any other company in the world. 

One of the defenses asserted in these kinds of cases is that the ESG claims are aspirational statements about goals companies intend to reach, and therefore are not misleading. It will be interesting to see if FTC chooses to incorporate any of these concepts into the Green Guides. Like any company making ESG marketing and advertising claims, I will be monitoring this issue closely as the year goes on. 

Marketing and advertising claims related to environmental, social and governance efforts are in the crosshairs of the plaintiff’s bar as cases alleging greenwashing, including exaggerated or false claims about ESG initiatives, environmental impact and sustainable practices increase...


esg, ftc, greenwashing, food and beverage, litigation