Organix products must be 70% organic, pending Canadian court approval

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

Organix products must be 70% organic, pending Canadian court approval
That’s one stipulation of the proposed settlement in a class action suit accusing Vogue International of deceptive advertising and marketing of Organix skin care and hair care products.

The Superior Court of Quebec will hear a motion to approve the settlement late next month.

Saving time and money
The brand’s parent company, “Vogue [International,] denies it did anything wrong. The Court did not decide which side was right. Instead, the parties have decided to settle,” ​according to a pre-approval notice from Borden Ladner Gervais, defence counsel and claim administrator for the proposed settlement.

The class members will have purchased the company’s products between late October 2008 and May 2015. Each individual can claim CDN $4 per product but no more than $28 (slightly less for Quebec residents). And at most Vogue International will be accountable for CDN $325,000, including counsel fees and the like. 

Consequences
The settlement proposal outlines direct compensation to members of the affected class as well as indirect compensation or punitive damages. Those damages are expressly designed to bring the company’s business practices in line with Canadian beauty industry standards, consumer beliefs, and labelling requirements of the California Organic Products Act.

To ensure that the company’s manufacturing and sales of Organix products align more faithfully with its advertising, marketing, communications, etc., the proposed settlement reads in part, “Vogue shall not use the word ‘organic’ to promote the sale of any hair care or skin care product using the Organix name unless such product contains at least seventy percent (70%) organically produced ingredients, excluding water and salt.”

To be discontinued…
Some terms in the mutually agreed upon settlement proposal open the door for Vogue International to discontinue the Organix brand entirely. Namely, “for purposes of this agreement, ‘promote the sale of any hair care and skin care product’ does not include any explanation of Vogue’s discontinuance of the Organix brand…”

Though there is no directive for the company to phase out the brand, it’s a likelihood in the current legal environment. A similar case against Vogue International, brought a couple of years back in the States, had legal experts cautioning brands against construing names with claims and more: “even if something is not mandated by law, failure to comply with standards that are viewed by many as a requirement, even I they are generally voluntary in your industry, can result in a hefty pay out,” ​Angela Diesch, senior counsel with Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard, told Cosmetics Design​ at the time. (Details of the proposed settlement are here​.)

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