SEMA eNews Vol. 15, No. 42, October 18, 2012

Federal Trade Commission Updates Guide on “Green” Advertising Claims

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has updated its “Green Guides,” which are intended to help marketers avoid misleading environmental claims. The Guides were first issued in 1992, but have not been revised since 1998. The Guides cover: 1) general principles that apply to all environmental marketing claims; 2) consumer perception of claims and marketing substantiation of claims; and 3) avoiding consumer deception.

Marketing studies have found that most consumers think a “green” product is recyclable, biodegradable, made from recycled materials or made with renewable materials. Since very few products have all of these attributes, the FTC’s Guide revisions are intended to clarify and limit the claims. The revised guides include new sections on renewable materials claims, “green” certifications and seals of approval, non-toxic claims, renewable energy claims and carbon offsets. They also clarify existing categories, such as recyclable and ozone-safe. 

For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at stuartg@sema.org.