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New US FTC Green Guides for Environmental Product Claims
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued revised “Green Guides” to help companies understand the requirements for environmental claims associated with their products and to ensure that the claims are true and do not mislead the consumer.
They consist of general principles, specific guidance on the use of particular environmental claims using numerous examples. FTC stresses that “n the context of environmental marketing claims, a reasonable basis often requires competent and reliable scientific evidence.” The Commission asserts that the Guides will help companies through this process by explaining how reasonable consumers are likely to interpret claims, describing the basic elements considered necessary to substantiate claims, and presenting options for qualifying a claim in order to avoid perceptions of deception.
“Green Claims” Recommendations
The Guides (http://www.ftc.gov/
The Guides contain several sections addressing “new” types of environmental claims; “carbon offsets” claims, “free-of” certain materials claims, “non-toxic”
The FTC also addresses the environmental certifications and seals of approval that may be attached to a product. According to FTC such certifications or seals of approval may be viewed as product endorsement which will trigger compliance with the FTC Endorsement Guide (http://#_ftn1). A product marketer in such case has to not only meet the burden of proper scientific substantiation for the claims, but also disclose “material connections”
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