Kimberly-Clark Sued for “Greenwashed” Baby Wipes

Summer Whiteside has filed a class action complaint against Kimberly-Clark Corporation, manufacturer of Huggies, for allegedly deceptive advertising.. She argues that while Huggies markets so-called “natural” and “plant-based” wet wipes, they contain numerous artificial ingredients, which, the complaint says, violates California advertising statutes as well as the common law doctrines of breach of warranty and unjust enrichment.

“Defendant has instead chosen to ‘greenwash’ the Products and market them  through deceptive labeling and advertising to convince consumers the Products are  natural and  plant-based when, in reality, they contain numerous synthetic, artificial, and highly processed ingredients,” the complaint says.

The complaint describes how customers seek out, and pay a premium for, products labeled as “all-natural” and “plant-based,” as customers believe these products to be safer and healthier than those containing synthetic ingredients. To allegedly tap into this market, Kimberly-Clark produces the Huggies natural care line, which includes the two wet wipes in question: Huggies Natural Care Baby Wipes (Refreshing) and (Sensitive). 

However, the ingredients for said wipes include numerous synthetically produced compounds, like butoxy PEG-4 PG-amodimethicone and coco-betaine, only some of which are found in nature, like malic acid. By contrast, the complaint cites Federal Trade Commission “Green Guides” which state that “plant-based” and “natural” must be substantiated by ingredient-lists and manufacturing process that a reasonable consumer might infer to justify said terminology.

For this alleged false advertising, Whiteside seeks class-action certification for nationwide purchasers of the allegedly greenwashed wipes with those residing in California as a subclass, an injunction against current and future sale of said products, compensatory and punitive damages, and reasonable attorney’s fees. She brings the case in the Central District of California where she resides and where Huggies wipes are sold, and she is represented by Clarkson Law Firm, P.C. and Crosner Legal, P.C.