FTC Green Guides Update Seeks to Prevent Greenwashing

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has just closed a comment period seeking information and input from stakeholders regarding its Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (i.e., FTC’s Green Guides). First published in 1992 and last revised in 2012, the Green Guides are non-enforceable guidelines designed to prevent manufacturers from publishing false or misleading marketing claims regarding products and services that could cause consumers to believe they are purchasing a product that is environmentally friendly, when in fact, it is not. Such practice has been dubbed “greenwashing.” In the 2012 revisions, FTC focused on the use of terms such as non-toxic, recyclable, and “free-of”. FTC’s latest update is considering closer scrutiny of claims that include Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies, climate change, organic claims, and recycled content. Although the Green Guides themselves are non-enforceable, FTC is able to pursue action against misleading claims through Section 5 of the FTC Act (15 USC §45(a)(1). MAS encourages all our clients to become familiar with the FTC Green Guides to make sure all environmental marketing claims are verifiable and clear as to what is stated. We also encourage our clients to periodically review the terms of the MAS Certified Green ® Logo Use Agreement. For more information please contact the MAS Certified Green ® Program www.mascertifiedgreen.com or 770-866-3200.

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