Washington, DC -- The US Federal Trade Commission has issued revised 'green guides' that are designed to help marketers ensure the claims they make about the environmental attributes of their products are truthful and non-deceptive.
The revisions include updates to the existing guides, as well as new sections on the use of carbon offsets, 'green' certifications and seals, and renewable energy and renewable materials claims.
"The introduction of environmentally friendly products into the marketplace is a win for consumers who want to purchase greener products and for producers who want to sell them," said FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz. "But this win-win can only occur if marketers' claims are truthful and substantiated."
Among other modifications, the guides caution marketers not to make broad, unqualified claims that a product is "environmentally friendly" or "eco-friendly" because the FTC's consumer perception study confirms that such claims are likely to suggest that the product has specific and far-reaching environmental benefits. Very few products, if any, have all the attributes consumers seem to perceive from such claims, making these claims nearly impossible to substantiate, FTC said in a 1 Oct news release.
The guides also contain new sections on: certifications and seals of approval; carbon offsets, free-of claims, non-toxic claims, made with renewable energy claims, and made with renewable materials claims.