Wednesday, October 20, 2010

FTC Cracks Down on “Green Washing”

We’ve all seen product claims that something is “eco-friendly” or that contain environmental seals or certifications purporting to be an environmental “good housekeeping seal of approval.” According to the Ecolabel Index, (which is an organization with which I am unfamiliar, but which, according to their web site, is “the largest global database of ecolabels”) there are currently 349 seals and certifications for marketing green products worldwide, 88 of which are used in North America.

According to a recent study of the TerraChoice Group, now part of the Underwriters Laboratories (a familiar and I believe reliable source), there has been a large increase in green advertising in magazines since the 1990s and a proliferation of eco-labeling. This has become very confusing.

The Federal Trade Commission has finally stepped in and revised their “Green Guides,” from the 1998 version. The rules require much more specific information about supposed environmental benefits and require more disclosure about certifications and seals of approval, among other changes.

Here is a link to the proposed revisions to the Green Guides. If you are so inclined, here is the link to file a comment on the proposed rule. All comments must be received by December 10, 2010.

Presumably, this will help put better and clearer information in the marketplace. Always useful to have good information.

If anyone wishes to post comments on the draft rule, feel free to share them here so we can all see and perhaps add our comments to yours.

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