In October 2012 the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) updated its Green Guides for marketers. The original draft of the updated guidelines were released in 2010. The changes that should be noted pertains to the FTC’s interpretation of general environmental benefits, more specifically claims that a product is “eco friendly” or “green,”
There are at least two salient points to be made here. The first is that the FTC now requires proof of any stated environmental benefit and the second is what it calls “environmental tradeoffs.” The replacement employed in the greener offering must indeed be green.
The net effect is that companies will have to work harder to prove the claims they make. The FTC also has new powers to act against those who contravene these guidelines.
These Green Guides will be used by the National Advertising Division (NAD), the advertising industry’s self-regulatory body, to settle disputes. NAD is charged with monitoring and evaluating truth and accuracy in national advertising.
The new guidelines also give competitors more ammunition to take action to confront deceptive claims.
At the end of the day these guidelines fight greenwash and make it easier for consumers to get the truth from marketers. While this does entail more effort to prove green claims it should cleanup the marketing space and enhance consumer trust.
To see the FTC’s new Green Guides click here (pdf).
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