Under the revised Federal Trade Commission Green Guides, a company can no longer simply label a product as “green” or “eco-friendly” to imply general environmental benefits.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Environmentally-conscious consumers are finding a growing number of products advertised as “environmentally safe,” “degradable” and “ozone friendly,” but at what point can a consumer have confidence in a product or service advertising itself as “green?”
The Federal Trade Commission, (FTC) in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) has developed guidelines published in Green Guides.
These help advertisers ensure that their environmental marketing claims don’t mislead consumers. While the guidelines are not enforceable as law, the FTC can take action if it deems a company’s marketing is unfair or deceptive.
Under the Green Guides, a company can no longer simply label a product as “green” or “eco-friendly” to imply general environmental benefits. Any such claim must be linked to a specific product benefit.
The old guidelines allowed that claim if the product broke down in a “reasonably short period,” but didn’t define the period. As an example under the new changes, a product may be touted as degradable only if it breaks down within one year. Products advertised as “compostable” must break down as quickly as the materials they are composted with, such as plants and other organic materials that consumers might put in a backyard compost bin.
In addition, the guides caution marketers not to use unqualified certifications or seals of approval that do not specify the basis for the certification. All qualifications marketers apply to certifications or seals should be clear, prominent and specific.
Connecticut BBB encourages you to check out any and all products, services and marketers making “green” claims before spending your green:
Do your research - Take the time to look into a product and manufacturer to find more information about the product and its eco-friendliness.
Be cautious of fluffy language or concrete claims - “Fuzzy claims” such as “environmentally friendly” or “100 percent natural” without solid examples to back up the claim can be misleading. Look for specific information and substantiation of all claims.
Confirm certifications - Companies may create a logo to intentionally look like it’s a third party certification for their environmental claims. Research any third-party carefully before accepting its “stamp of approval.”
Know where to turn if you have questions - Visit the FTC Environmental Marketing Claims Guidelines for more information on green products and green advertising. If you believe a business is engaged in deceptive advertising, file a complaint with your BBB and the FTC.
To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit http://www.bbb.org.