International Chamber of Commerce Announces New Framework for Green Claims

It’s no surprise that in our current economic condition consumer spending is down. A company’s budget, and especially marketing dollars, have to work more efficiently than ever before. While consumers may be watching their purse strings, green” products are prevalent, and green marketing claims can be an effective way to break out of the clutter. Marketers must ensure, however, that those claims do not overstate the green” benefits or they could face regulatory investigations or challenges from competitors, which cause further budgetary strain.

From Paris to Peoria, companies should carefully consider the messages they could be communicating when touting environmental attributes of their products. Yesterday the International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”) announced its Framework for Responsible Environmental Marketing Communications -- guidelines for international marketers when making green marketing claims. The framework includes a checklist that marketers can use when making green claims and a chart with cross references to the Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications, which sets forth general principles governing all marketing communications. The ICC is the international association that coordinates and promotes self-regulation of advertising. Countries particpate through local chapters like the U.S. Council for International Business (“USCIB”).

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission has published Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (“Green Guides”) and is currently reviewing the Green Guides for possible modification. For more information, check out our recent article, Going Green Without Giving Up Your Greenbacks.