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Judge dismisses greenwashing case against Nike

By Susan Zijp


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A knitted Nike shoe. Credits: Nike.

A court in the US state of Missouri has dismissed a class action lawsuit against Nike after a complainant claimed that its 'Sustainability Collection' product line does not use sustainable materials and was therefore misleading. The arguments presented in the case were not convincing enough, leading to the dismissal, the Sourcing Journal reported.

Nike was accused of greenwashing in May 2023 by Maria Guadalupe Ellis, who filed the complaint in the Eastern District Court of Missouri. Ellis alleged that Nike had violated the consumer law called Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA), intended to counter misleading and unfair business practices by companies.

Nike falsely advertised its 'Sustainability Collection' product line, according to Ellis, despite Nike claiming the line was made from recycled materials. The brand had communicated this by touting products as "made from recycled fibres" which "reduces our carbon footprint", the lawsuit stated.

Ellis disagreed with this statement, however. "They are not made of 'sustainable' and eco-friendly materials. The products [from Nike] are not less harmful to the environment," the complaint stated.

Nike's advertising was also criticised by Ellis. "The marketing and labelling mislead consumers into believing they are receiving products that are 'sustainable' ... but Nike's products do not live up to these claims."

Ellis claimed that "of the 2,452 products identified in the Nike 'Sustainability Collection', only 239 are actually made from recycled materials". The complainant stressed: "More than 90 percent of the products in the Nike 'Sustainability' Collection are therefore not 'made with recycled fibres'.

Ellis' arguments were insufficient to convince the Missouri judge, and as such Nike does not have to go to court.

This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.NL. Translation and edit by: Rachel Douglass.