FTC Releases Highly Anticipated Updates to Environmental Marketing Guides and PMA Webinar


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today released a long-anticipated draft of its revised Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (“Green Guides”), which provide critical guidance for companies making environmental claims about their products and services.

The draft Green Guides—which will be issued in final form sometime after a public comment period ends on December 10, 2010—propose to significantly tighten the standards for a range of environmental claims. Any company that makes environmental claims—including that their products or services are “green,” biodegradable, compostable, ozone safe, recyclable, or recycled—should first consult these revised Guides.

The Guides help companies avoid running afoul of Section 5 of the FTC Act when making environmental claims. Section 5 broadly prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices, which include unsubstantiated claims that mislead consumers. Although the Guides do not have the force of law, they indicate how the FTC will interpret whether green claims or practices are unfair or deceptive. The Obama administration has already brought seven “green” advertising enforcement actions at the FTC, compared to zero under the entire Bush Administration.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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