FTC Issues Revised Green Guides

Yesterday, the FTC issued a revised version of their Green Guides that is designed to help marketers ensure that claims about the environmental benefits of their products are truthful and not misleading. In revising the Guides, the FTC modified and clarified existing sections and provided new guidance on claims that were not common when the Guides were last reviewed.

The Green Guides address the following types of claims: (a) general environmental benefit claims; (b) carbon offset claims; (c) certifications and seals of approval; (d) compostable” claims; (e) degradable” claims; (f) free-of” claims; (g) non-toxic” claims; (h) ozone-safe” and ozone-friendly” claims; (i) recyclable” and recyclable content” claims; (j) refillable” claims; (k) renewable energy” claims; (l) renewable materials” claims; and (m) source reduction claims.

The Green Guides aren’t new regulations, but they describe the types of environmental claims the FTC may or may not find deceptive under Section 5 of the FTC Act. The FTC has brought several actions in recent years related to green claims, and indicated that they would continue to bring these types of actions. Accordingly, advertisers should carefully review the new Guides and ensure that their green claims comply with the FTC’s standards.

For a more detailed analysis of the Green Guides, please reference the Kelley Drye client advisory, and see the FTC video below.