Starbucks Sued For False Advertising: REPORT

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Julianna Frieman Contributor
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The National Consumers League (NCL) sued Starbucks for false advertising Wednesday, The Hill reported.

The NCL accused the coffee giant of misleading customers by touting its reliance on “ethical” sourcing while still using farms facing accusations of human rights violations and labor abuses, relying on several reports, according to The Hill.

“Consumers have been misled by Starbucks’ deceptive advertising, and Starbucks, with annual profits exceeding $21 billion, has unjustly benefited from branding itself as an industry leader in corporate responsibility while hiding the true nature of its unreliable and inadequate sourcing practices,” the lawsuit said, the outlet reported.

Starbucks frequently claims to use “Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices,” which the NCL attacked in its lawsuit, according to the outlet. The coffee corporation has reportedly referred to this certification process as “designed to promote transparent, profitable and sustainable coffee growing practices while also protecting the well-being of coffee farms and workers, their families and their communities,” the lawsuit alleged. (RELATED: ‘Flagrant Violations’: Starbucks Sued Over Alleged Discriminatory Hiring Practices)

“Contrary to Starbucks’ misrepresentations, a rubber-stamp ‘certification’ from these programs does not establish that Starbucks’ coffee and tea are in fact ethically sourced or in conformance with the international human rights norms and standards that Starbucks purports to respect,” the lawsuit said, the outlet reported.

The NCL lawsuit accused Starbucks of using its alleged faux “ethical” branding for profit, acknowledging its allure in advertising, according to the outlet. Starbucks’ leadership is reportedly “aware of the lawsuit, and plan to aggressively defend against the asserted claims that Starbucks has misrepresented its ethical sourcing commitments to customers,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

“We take allegations like these extremely seriously and are actively engaged with farms to ensure they adhere to our standards,” the spokesperson reportedly added.