Tuesday, September 23, 2014

FTC to Examine Consumer Perception of Environmental Marketing Claims.

The Federal Trade Commission plans to conduct a study to examine consumer perception of environmental marketing claims. Comments must be received on or before October 20, 2014.

I. Background

The Commission's Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims ("Green Guides" or "Guides") help marketers avoid making unfair and deceptive environmental claims. The Guides outline general principles that apply to all environmental marketing claims and provide guidance regarding specific categories of such claims. These categories include: General environmental benefit claims such as "environmentally friendly"; degradable claims; compostable claims; recyclable claims; recycled content claims; source reduction claims; refillable claims; and "free-of" claims. The Green Guides explain how reasonable consumers are likely to interpret claims within these categories. The Guides also describe the basic elements necessary to substantiate claims and present options for qualifying them to avoid deception. The illustrative qualifications provide "safe harbors" for marketers who want certainty, but do not represent the only permissible approaches. Currently, the Guides do not provide specific guidance regarding "organic" claims.

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