The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently proposed a number of revisions to its Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (“Green Guides”). The deadline to file comments on the proposed changes is December 10, 2010.
One of the most significant changes in the proposed new “Green Guides” is a new section on the use of environmental certifications and seals of approval in advertising. Marketers across industry sectors increasingly use certifications and seals of approval to communicate environmental claims.
Many industry trade associations now have certification programs. For example, the National Association of Home Builders and the U.S. Green Building Council have created environmental certification programs for homes.
The FTC recognizes that environmental certifications from associations or others can benefit consumers by providing a consistent definition of the “green” attributes of products or services, as well as verification that technical claims are true. But the agency also believes that seals of approval can confuse or even mislead the public, and the new proposed section of the “Green Guides” gives detailed guidance on how to avoid deceptive claims relating to environmental certifications.
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