FTC addresses revised "Green Guides" at AAMA National Fall Conference
The Federal Trade Commission issued its revised “Green Guides” earlier this month with the goal of helping marketers ensure that the claims they make about the environmental attributes of their products are truthful and non-deceptive. At the American Architectural Manufacturers Association National Fall Conference this week, FTC Southwest Region Director Deanya Kueckelhan reviewed the new guidelines.
Among other modifications, the guides caution marketers not to make broad, unqualified environmental claims like "green" or "eco-friendly," as they are difficult to substantiate. Instead, marketers should qualify general claims with clear, prominent and specific environmental benefits, Kueckelhan said.
When marketers qualify a general claim with a specific benefit, consumers understand the benefit to be significant. As a result, marketers shouldn't highlight small or unimportant benefits. If a qualified general claim conveys that a product has an overall environmental benefit because of a specific attribute, marketers should analyze the trade-offs resulting from the attribute to prove the claim, she continued.
Kueckelhan urged AAMA attendees to read the four-page summary of the changes in the guides; the video explaining highlights of the changes, a new page on the FTC Business Center, with links to legal documents, the Guides and other “green” content; a Business Center blog post; and related consumer information.