The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a request for public comment on updating its Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (“Green Guides”), which provides guidelines for businesses that want to use environmental marketing claims in their advertising and labeling. The Green Guides aim to help businesses avoid making deceptive or misleading environmental. This includes assisting businesses in determining how consumers are likely to interpret specific claims and how to substantiate environmental claims. In addition, the Green Guides present options for qualifying claims to avoid deception.
The Commission reviews the Green Guides every ten years, with the last review occurring in. Accordingly, FTC is now seeking comments on the Green Guides to ensure they continue providing helpful guidance for businesses and consumers.
In its request for public comment, the Commission has requested feedback by providing approximately 40 questions as prompts. The questions focus on what FTC Chair Lina M. Khan describes as “relatively emerging environmental topics” and businesses’ views on the Green Guides’ value. Topics include:
- The use of environmental marketing claims in the context of emerging technologies and market trends, such as ozone friendly/safe, carbon offsets, recyclability, and energy efficiency, and whether the Green Guides should be updated in addressing these areas.
- The impact of the Green Guides on small businesses, including any challenges or benefits that small businesses have experienced as a result of following the guidelines.
- The extent to which the Green Guides are consistent with international guidelines and standards for environmental marketing claims.
- Any additional guidance or clarification that the FTC could provide to help businesses make accurate and non-deceptive environmental marketing claims.
FTC also asks for comment on whether the Guides overlap or conflict with other federal, state, or local laws or regulations, and if so, how?
Additionally, the Commission requests comments on the Guides’ interaction with other environmental marketing regulations and whether the Commission should consider rulemaking to establish independently enforceable requirements related to unfair and deceptive environmental claims.
The Federal Register notice also discusses the types of information that the Commission would find helpful regarding specific environmental marketing claims, including carbon offsets and climate change, degradable, and recyclable.
The Agency is accepting comments until February 21, 2023. You can submit your comments online here.