FTC Asks for Comment on Revised Green Guides

On October 6, the FTC released its long-anticipated revisions to its Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims.  The proposed revisions, the first since 1998, reflect almost three years of public input, though requests for comment from interested parties (including the advertising industry), consumer perception studies, and workshops on carbon offsets and renewable energy certificates, green packaging claims, and green building and textiles.

The revisions discourage the use of unqualified general environmental claims, more clearly define what substantiation must back up terms such as biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable, and for the first time provide guidance on substantiation for the use of carbon offsets and claims regarding renewable materials and renewable energy.

The revisions were published in the Federal Register as a request for public comment.  The FTC seeks comment on 18 questions dealing with the revisions (beginning on page 186 of the notice) relating to consumer perception of many claims and terms used in green marketing.  We are anticipating filing comments responding to the FTC’s request.  Comments are due by December 10, 2010.  If you would like to provide us input, or have any questions, please contact Dan Jaffe in ANA's Washington office at 202-296-2359 or at djaffe@ana.net.