ILANZ, In-House Lawyers Association of New Zealand


Greenwashing – staying clean while being green

Greenwashing – staying clean while being green

For many businesses, greenwashing and the use of green claims poses a significant risk to their reputation and legal ‘bill of health’. In house legal teams need to work closely with marketing and communications colleagues to educate and help manage these risks. They also need to know when to ring the alarm bell and take steps to remove content from the market if mistakes are made. Part of the challenge lies in always being able to stand back and look through the eyes of your customers, no matter how close to the action you are. Another challenge is knowing when to rely on third party assurances that claims are justified, and when to do your own research or simply qualify your claim. Many players on the global stage are finding out the hard way that overplaying your hand on green claims can bring serious legal and reputational consequences.

Jenni Rutter, an IP partner at Dentons, regularly advises businesses on green claims and the regulation of marketing. In this presentation she will help you:

  • Understand what greenwashing means and how the various rules apply.
  • Learn to identify high risk claims and moderate over enthusiastic marketing content with a greenwashing sanity check.
  • Learn from lived examples what not to do, and how to respond when things go wrong.



Jenni Rutter (Dentons Kensington Swan)

Jenni leads the IP team at Dentons Kensington Swan, working from the Auckland office. She has over 25 years’ experience supporting some of the world’s leading IP owners in and New Zealand and the United Kingdom, helping them develop, protect and commercialise their valuable IP assets.

Jenni was previously a partner in London at another global law firm, and returned home 15 years ago to raise her baby twins as Kiwis. Jenni brings a truly global perspective to her work and advises a wide range of New Zealand businesses on developing and establishing their IP overseas and how they can take their products and services to the world. Jenni also helps businesses with a broad range of IP issues including developing and enforcing trade marks and designs, copyright, advertising and fair trading, patents, domain names, passing off and confidential information. Jenni has a particular interest in greenwashing and has done a lot of work in this area, especially with food & beverage businesses and other fast moving consumer goods companies.  

Jenni is mildly obsessed with brand development. She manages the New Zealand trade mark portfolios of a number of the world’s best known brands across various industries from banking and metaverse/web3, to technology and furniture. She is also a seasoned litigator and an experienced advocate, appearing regularly in high profile IP disputes heard before the New Zealand Courts and at the IP Office. She has been lucky enough to work on cases in the last few years that broke new ground in relation to misleading nicknames (on behalf of former Prime Minister Helen Clark), ownership of trade marks (for GJ Gardner) and most recently in relation to whether ‘a2’ is a descriptor or a brand (for Nutricia).     

Jenni is recognised by Chambers Asia Pacific, Legal 500, World Trademark Review and Managing Intellectual Property as one of New Zealand’s leading IP lawyers. She is supported by a fabulous team of women and couldn’t do it without them.

Dentons Kensington Swan is part of Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, with unparalleled access to the legal expertise of over 21,000 lawyers in more than 200 locations and 80 jurisdictions. Dentons Kensington Swan is a leading commercial law firm in New Zealand.