On December 14, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that it will be seeking comment on potential updates to its guidance on environmental marketing claims known as the “Green Guides.”  A draft of a Federal Register Notice was also placed on the FTC’s website.
The Green Guides, located at 16 CFR Part 260, provide a safe haven for companies so that environmental claims that they make about their policies, products, packaging or services are not considered unfair or deceptive under Section 5 of the FTC Act. The Green Guides outline general principles applicable to all environmental marketing claims and specific guidance on common environmental claims. The Green Guides explain that environmental claims must be true, qualified if necessary, not overly broad, substantiated, and clear. The Green Guides were first issued in 1992 and then were updated in 1996, 1998, and 2012.
In 2023, the FTC will be seeking general and specific comments about the Green Guides. The FTC has asked the public to respond to 19 general questions about the efficacy and continued viability of the Green Guides. In addition, the FTC will be seeking input from the public on several specific subjects, including whether:
Some examples of recent FTC unfair or deceptive claims involve whether products made from bamboo are “eco-friendly”, “biodegradable”, “sustainable”, or “compostable.”
Thompson Coburn’s environmental group has assisted clients to evaluate such claims as well as a wide variety of other environmental marketing claims, including but not limited to renewability, compostability, recyclability, recycled content, carbon offsets and climate change, and free-of claims.
The FTC expects that the Federal Register Notice comment period will be published in mid-January 2023 and that comments will be accepted thereafter. The public will have sixty (60) days to provide comments during the comment period.
Although we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Also, we cannot treat unsolicited information as confidential. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you (an ‘engagement letter’).
By clicking the ‘ACCEPT’ button, you agree that we may review any information you transmit to us. You recognize that our review of your information, even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us, and, further, even if you consider it confidential, does not preclude us from representing another client directly adverse to you, even in a matter where that information could and will be used against you. Please click the ‘ACCEPT’ button if you understand and accept the foregoing statement and wish to proceed.