FTC Revising Green Marketing Guidelines
Current FTC Regulations for Environmental ClaimsIssued in 1992, the FTC Guidelines for Environmental Marketing Claims (www.ftc.gov) or "Green Guides" do not constitute a labeling system as such, but they are designed to have an effect on labeling. The guidelines are intended to prevent false or misleading use of advertising claims such as "environmentally friendly," "degradable," and "recyclable." Confusion over the meaning of such terms affected not only consumers but also companies, who were concerned about lawsuits over their environmental claims.
The FTC Guides Outline Four General Principles for Environmental Claims
The guides also addressed claims concerning
Section 5 of the FTC ActThe Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims or "guides"
Related Resources for Green Marketing
Complying with Environmental Marketing Guides: FTC Publication Environmental Marketing Claims.This article provides excellent details on legal approaches to environmental claims: Lawpublish.com
The FTC looks at all advertising from the ... standards for environmental performance or prescribe testing protocols.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) seeks to prevent deception and unfairness in the marketplace. The FTC Act gives the Commission the power to bring law enforcement actions against false or misleading marketing claims, including environmental or "green" marketing claims. The FTC issued its Environmental Guides, often referred to as the "Green Guides," in 1992, and revised them most recently in 1998. The Guides indicate how the Commission will apply Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices, to environmental marketing claims.
Claims must provide
Eco-Seals, Seals-of-Approval and CertificationsEnvironmental seals-of-approval, eco-seals and certifications from third-party organizations imply that a product is environmentally superior to other products. Because such broad claims are difficult to substantiate, seals-of-approval should be accompanied by information that explains the basis for the award. If the seal-of-approval implies that a third party has certified the product, the certifying party must be truly independent from the advertiser and must have professional expertise in the area that is being certified.
SymbolsMany consumers are confused about what they can recycle in their communities because so many products display the universal recycling symbol. Often called the "three-chasing-arrows" or "Mobius loop," this image is likely to convey that the packaging is both "recyclable" and "recycled." Unless both messages can be substantiated, the claim should make clear whether the reference is to the package's recyclability or its recycled content.
National Center for Environmental EconomicsNCEE analyzes relationships between the economy, environmental health, and environmental pollution control. This includes:
Association of Environmental and Resource EconomistsAERE provides many forums for exchanging ideas relevant to the allocation and management of natural and environmental resources.
AERE Business Office
Marilyn M. Voigt
AERE Business Office
1616 P Street NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036
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