This week, the FTC announced proposed changes to its green marketing guidelines, in an attempt to protect consumers and avoid “greenwashing.” The findings from the FTC said marketers and consumers often have different ideas of what terms like "degradable" and "eco-friendly" actually mean.
This is the first time these guidelines have been changed since 1998, and the FTC has been busy with other guidelines, including for health claims and blogger relations in recent months. But as the FTC finalizes these changes, this time it is providing marketers and companies an opportunity to step up and be seen as a thought leader within green marketing.
Companies that tout the environmental claims of their products should set up internal guidelines about marketing—and be vocal about them. Explain how long it takes for your product packaging to breakdown in a landfill. As one of the proposed FTC guidelines suggests, tell consumers how long it will be before carbon offset transaction actually takes place. Do research; know the issues.
By being one step ahead of the FTC, companies can show they are serious about their green marketing and environmentally friendly products, but that they are taking steps to be truthful and work with the FTC.
Recently, the FTC cracked down on POM Wonderful over the health claims of its products, but the company has come out saying they will fight the charges and has been promoting its research and information. POM is getting a lot of buzz for its tactics.
In this post-recession America, consumers are looking for any reason not to buy a product. An issue with the FTC may affect their decision. Additionally, they are looking for any way they can help the environment. A company can take this opportunity to be seen as a leader in the space and be honest with consumers. Consumers will respond well to companies that come out with the meanings behind the buzz words and explanations of their products and claims—whether or not it's mandated by the FTC.