The FTC announced proposed revised green guidelines today, which will help marketers avoid making misleading environmental claims. This is the first time the "Green Guides" have been updated since 1998, and the FTC is seeking public comment on the changes until December 10.
"What companies think green claims mean and what consumers really understand are sometimes two different things," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz in a statement. "The proposed updates to the Green Guides will help businesses better align their product claims with consumer expectations."
More information can be found online, but the revised Guides warn marketers to avoid general claims of "environmentally friendly" or "eco-friendly" and not to use unqualified certifications or seals of approval. Additionally, the proposed changes would give advice on using terms such as "carbon offset," "renewable energy," and "degradable." The FTC's research on consumer perception found that consumers and marketers interpret those terms differently, and marketers should provide specific information to clarify what they mean.