FTC establishes “green guides” to prevent dishonest product claims

The RecyclingSymbolGreensmallforweb1 FTCs New Green Guides Should Help Clarify Environmental ClaimsFederal Trade Commission recently established new green guides’ to help prevent companies from making misleading and false “green” advertising claims.

The revised guides are designed to encourage marketers to be truthful in the claims they make about the environmental-friendliness  of their products and/or services. These guides will also make it easier for consumers to understand the claims.

The guides include new sections on the use of carbon offsets, “green” certifications and seals, renewable energy and renewable materials claims. The guides are not rules or regulations, but they define what the agency may find deceptive.

A major change is a warning to marketers against making broad, unqualified claims that a product is environmentally friendly or “eco-friendly.” The agency found that consumers thought that such claims suggested benefits far beyond the actual attributes of a product. Marketers also must have reliable scientific evidence to support the benefits claimed.

An FTC a summary of the “green guides” for consumers is available online at www.ftc.gov. An FTC Green Guide Video explains changes in the guides.