Monday, March 10, 2014

FTC Publishes New Strategic Plan

Today the U.S. Federal Trade Commission published its Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2014 to 2018. The document finalizes the draft plan published in July and was prepared after accepting comments from nearly 100 non-governmental stakeholders as well of from government stakeholders. Two entities, Agathon Associates and the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute, submitted comments specifically relating to the Commission's mission of consumer production under rules for the Textile Products Identification Act and the Wool Product Labeling Act. In addition, the National Retail Federation submitted comments.

Of particular interest, in light of the growing number of "green" or environmental claims being made regarding textile products is the Commission's attention, in the Strategic Plan, to environmental marketing claims. The Plan states (Page 6) --

The FTC recognizes that consumers cannot always identify whether unfair or deceptive practices have occurred. For example, consumers cannot evaluate for themselves the truthfulness of an environmental marketing claim, such as “made with recycled content.” The agency, therefore, identifies targets by augmenting its complaint databases with other enforcement leads, such as ad monitoring, Internet “surfs” (monitoring the Internet for potentially false or deceptive advertising for a targeted product or service), evaluation of mobile practices, and direct referrals from government and private sector partners.

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