(ABC4) – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is taking action against Kohls and Walmart for falsely marketing dozens of rayon textile products as bamboo.
Both companies are charged with making deceptive environmental claims, touting that the “bamboo” textiles were made using eco-friendly processes.
The FTC says the claims were false because both companies were in reality converting bamboo into rayon — which requires the use of toxic chemicals and results in hazardous pollutants.
The rayon manufacturing process uses toxic chemicals and results in the emission of hazardous pollutants.
A Penalty Offense Authority was issued to Kohls and Walmart on Friday. The FTC said they’ve asked the court to order Kohl’s and Walmart to stop making deceptive green claims, or using other misleading advertising. The FTC also asked the court to order both retailers to pay penalties of $2.5 million and $3 million — the largest penalties in this area, according to the FTC.
“Kohl’s and Walmart are paying millions of dollars under the FTC’s Penalty Offense Authority for mislabeling their rayon products as bamboo,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “False environmental claims harm both consumers and honest businesses, and companies that greenwash can expect to pay a price.”
The FTC’s complaints state that since at least January 2015, Kohl’s and Walmart have each marketed at least two dozen items as made bamboo in both product titles and descriptions. They’ve also marketed some of their “bamboo-derived” products as providing general environment benefits, such as being produced “free of harmful chemicals, using clean, non-toxic materials.”