After nearly five years of deliberations, the Federal Trade Commission has released its revised "Green Guides," which are aimed at environmental marketing claims.
The guidelines were first introduced in 1992 and updated in 1996 and 1998. (For more history and context for the Green Guides, we invite you to read the FTC’s 314-page statement of basis and purpose.) A draft of the revised guidelines was published for public comment almost two years ago. Newly updated and added sections include the use of carbon offsets, environmental certifications and seals, and renewable energy and renewable materials claims.
The Green Guides are not agency rules or regulations. Instead, they describe the types of environmental claims the FTC may or may not find deceptive under Section 5 of the FTC Act. Under Section 5, the agency can take enforcement action against deceptive claims, which ultimately can lead to Commission orders prohibiting deceptive advertising and marketing and fines if those orders are later violated.