We recently discussed consumers’ growing cynicism about products marketed as “green” or “environmentally friendly” — turns out that people are sick of having their well-meaning efforts to better their environment exploited by advertisers and corporations simply looking to cushion their bottom lines. In the wake of many dubious claims, consumers are now understandably hesitant to believe earth-friendly marketing messages.
Today, in its continuing effort to keep the marketers of “green” products honest (or at least discourage them from telling bold-faced lies), The Federal Trade Commission released its revised “Green Guides“, a set of guidelines meant to help advertisers make claims that are “truthful and non-deceptive”.
While the guides aren’t technically regulations, they describe the types of environmental claims the FTC may or may not find deceptive under Section 5 of the FTC Act. The Act allows the FTC to take “enforcement action” against deceptive claims, which can lead to Commission orders prohibiting deceptive advertising. If a company then violates these orders, it would be subject to fines.