The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) says that it will vote on “whether to publish a Federal Register notice commencing a regulatory review of the Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, known as the ‘Green Guides.'” In an announcement on December 7, the FTC stated that a “Regulatory Review of the Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims” is among the “current business” before the Commission, noting that the Green Guides “outline principles that apply to all environmental marketing claims, as well as guidance regarding specific categories of marketing claims.”
The announcement follows the FTC modifying its ten-year regulatory review schedule in July 2021, in connection with which the consumer protection agency revealed that it intended to initiate its review of the Green Guides in 2022 after last revising the sweeping eco-centric guidelines back in 2012. Aimed at helping marketers to make “truthful and non-deceptive” claims about the environmental attributes of their products, the 2012 revision of the Green Guides mandates, for instance, that marketers must “not make unqualified general environmental benefit claims because ‘’it is highly unlikely that marketers can substantiate all reasonable interpretations of these claims.’”
More specifically, the FTC’s 300-plus page Guides Guides take on some of the common “green” labels. For example, the FTC states that labeling a product as “green” because it is made with recycled content could be deceptive if the environmental costs of creating and using the recycled material exceed the benefits of using it. In terms of labeling a product as “biodegradable,” the FTC mandates that the product must “completely break down and return to nature” within one year for such a term to apply.