On October 1, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission released its long-awaited revised Environmental Claims Guides, known as the “Green Guides.” The Commission staff adopted many of the approaches it had proposed a year ago, but it also has introduced some brand new concepts, which in this final version could raise serious questions about the Commission’s procedural integrity. Furthermore, the Green Guides suffer from ambivalence toward governmental, international, and scientific standards, which surfaces as a palpable tension between that which is scientifically factual and that which is subject to the misconceptions of the public because of the technical nature of the subject matter.
Continue Reading FTC Releases Revised Environmental Claims Guides: Modifications and Surprises

In one of the first in-depth and formative talks delivered on the FTC’s recently proposed revisions to its Green Guides, John Feldman of Reed Smith joined forces with Keith Scarborough, Senior Vice President of Government Relations at the Association of National Advertisers, to deliver a teleseminar yesterday (Tuesday, October 12th, 2010) that was widely attended

If you sign up for only one teleseminar on the FTC’s proposed revisions to its Green Guides, make it this one:

Green Marketing: Can the FTC’s Green Guides Bring Consumer Perception of Environmental Claims into Focus?

On Wednesday, October 6, the Federal Trade Commission issued its long awaited proposed revisions to its Green Guides. This

On June 9, 2009, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) testified on its efforts to ensure truthfulness of environmental or “green” marketing claims before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Noting the “virtual tsunami” of environmental marketing, the FTC announced it will continue its efforts to ensure that green advertisements are “truthful, substantiated, and not confusing to consumers.”

In order to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive practices, the FTC explained its multi-tiered approach of (1) issuing rules and guides for businesses, (2) challenging fraudulent and deceptive ads through enforcement actions, and (3) publishing materials to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions.

The FTC’s Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (“Green Guides” or “Guides”), 16 C.F.R. Part 260, are the centerpiece of the agency’s environmental marketing program, according to the testimony. The Green Guides, first issued in 1992 and most recently revised in 1998, help advertisers avoid making “unfair or deceptive” claims in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act (“FTC Act”) by describing the basic elements needed to substantiate specific environmental claims. While the Guides “provide the basis for voluntary compliance” with section 5 of the FTC Act, “[c]onduct inconsistent with the positions articulated . . . may result in corrective action by the Commission under Section 5 if, after investigation, the Commission has reason to believe that the behavior falls within the scope of the conduct declared unlawful by the statute.” § 260.1.

Continue Reading The FTC Takes on Environmental Marketing Claims Through Green Guides and More