FTC updates guidance on environmental marketing claims

FTC updates guidance on environmental marketing claims
Green Guides provide guidance on environmental marketing claims

The Federal Trade Commission last month opened up for public comment potential updates and changes to the Green Guides, for the use of environmental claims. Comments to be accepted until February 21.

The Green Guides, first issued in 1992 and revised in 1996, 1998, and 2012, provide guidance on environmental marketing claims, including how consumers are likely to interpret particular claims and how marketers can substantiate these claims to avoid deceiving consumers.

“Consumers are increasingly conscious of how the products they buy affect the environment, and depend on marketers’ environmental claims to be truthful,” said Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Samuel Levine. “We look forward to this review process, and will make any updates necessary to ensure the Green Guides provide current, accurate information about consumer perception of environmental benefit claims. This will both help marketers make truthful claims and consumers find the products they seek.”

Issues on which the FTC expects to get many public comments include carbon offsets and climate change, the term recyclable, and the term recycled content.

In Europe, Reuters this month reported that the European Union has drafted plans to require companies to back up green claims about their products with evidence, in a bid to fight greenwashing and misleading advertisements.

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