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FTC created in 1915 to regulate unfair trade practices under the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 (FTC Act) As its tagline states, PROTECTING AMERICA’S CONSUMERS is what the FTC does Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (“Green Guides” or “Guides”) 1 st issued in 1992 under Bush Sr., updated in 1996 and 1998 before long hiatus – proposed revisions issued on 10/06/2010, final revisions expected this summer Section 5 of the FTC Act addresses unfair and/or deceptive advertising claims generally, with specific attention given to marketing claims about environmental features and benefits Guides enforceable only by the FTC but may be relied upon as persuasive evidence of accepted definitions and “best practices” in false advertising claims before other tribunals, NAD & state and fed courts
An environmental claim on product packaging should make clear whether the claim refers to the packaging and/or to the product, in whole or part. Likewise, a claim that a service has an environmental benefit should make clear what aspect of the service produces what benefit. The Guides caution against making overstated and unqualified claims. BE PRECISE Under 1992, 96 & 98 versions of Green Guides, use of specific terms in marketing and advertising, namely, “ biodegradable ,” “ compostable ,” “ recyclable ,” “recycled content,” “ refillable ,” and “ ozone safe & friendly ” were defined and suggested examples of use of each were provided therein.
On October 6, 2010, the FTC issued a 229 page Notice: Request for public comment on proposed, Revised Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims. In a brief 186 pages, the Notice describes the FTC’s three year review process, previews all of the proposed changes and additions to the Guides in detail, and seeks additional public comment on all issues raised in the Notice, all aspects of the proposed revised Green Guides, and 16 specific questions (not including subparts. Note -- none of the Comments submitted during the review process suggested that the Guides were no longer needed. Several comments indicated that the Guides help marketers make truthful and accurate environmental marketing claims, while ensuring a level playing field amongst companies, to the benefit of businesses and consumers alike Proposes revising the Guides to make it clear that they also apply to business-to-business transactions and not just in business-to-consumer marketing
Notice reiterates over and again that marketers should expect to substantiate their environmental marketing claims with “competent and reliable scientific evidence,” including objective tests, analyses, research, studies, or other evidence, performed by qualified professionals using generally accepted procedures to yield accurate and reliable results The revised Guides offer detailed direction on the claims defined therein. They offer insight into how consumers are likely to interpret such claims, what elements are needed to substantiate those claims, and options for qualifying the claims in order to avoid deception. They also contain an entire section on certifications and seals, previously addressed in only a single example. The Guides apply to “claims about the environmental attributes of a product, package, or service in connection with the marketing, offering for sale or sale of such item or services to individuals, businesses or other entities” . . . “in labeling, advertising, promotional materials, and all other forms of marketing in any medium, whether asserted directly or by implication, through words, symbols, logos, depictions, product brand names, or by any other means.” The general rules expressed by the Green Guides are quite simple: be honest, be precise, be willing and able to substantiate your claims, and if you cannot prove it, don’t use it !
Greenlist is a rating system used to evaluate and reduce adverse environmental effects of chemical ingredients. 48 million pounds vocs removed from its products in past 5 years. What the front labels don't s ay is that the Greenlist insignia is conferred by S.C. Johnson itself. Class actions suits in WI and CA. This July. S.C. Johnson also says on its website that Greenlist was &quot;scientifically reviewed&quot; by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Greg Schiefer, executive director of the group's North American wing, said the society hasn't formally reviewed Greenlist, although members of the group have heard presentations on the process at annual meetings and reviewed it in that sense. A reporter's inquiry about the website statement prompted discussions between the society and company, Schiefer said. &quot;I think they're going to modify that text, to be honest,&quot; he said. http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20110210/GPG03/102100594/S-C-Johnson-s-Greenlist-labeling-deceptive-lawsuit-claims http://www.jsonline.com/business/115613414.html
Using [ChicoBag's] products will lessen your environmental impact. Only one (1) percent of plastic bags are recycled. Somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year. Single-use paper and plastic bags cause environmental damage. A reusable bag needs only to be used eleven (11) times to have a lower environmental impact than using eleven (11) disposable bags. The world’s largest landfill can be found floating between Hawaii and San Francisco and this ‘landfill’ is estimated to be twice the size of Texas and thousands of pounds of our discarded trash, mostly plastics. Each year hundreds of thousands of sea birds and marine life die from ingestable [sic] plastics mistaken for food. Plastic bags damage the natural environment.
SB11 - Rimon Law Group - Lara Pearson
The ABC's of Staying Clean on Greenwash Lara Pearson Rimon Law Group
National Advertising Division <ul><li>Protects the integrity and credibility of advertising by ensuring that claims are truthful and accurate. </li></ul><ul><li>Cost-effective means of resolving disputes. </li></ul><ul><li>Success Rate: 95% </li></ul>
Substantiating Green Claims <ul><li>What claims are conveyed to consumers? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the advertiser have “competent and reliable” evidence to substantiate those claims? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Scientific evidence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Test, analyses, and research studies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>FTC Green Guides </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Industry Standards </li></ul></ul></ul>
Green Claims at NAD <ul><li>Old Generation: </li></ul><ul><li>General Environmental Benefit </li></ul><ul><li>Biodegradable </li></ul><ul><li>“ Natural” or “free” from hazard </li></ul><ul><li>New Generation: </li></ul><ul><li>Renewable Energy </li></ul><ul><li>Seals & Certifications </li></ul>
Be a Resource 79% of consumers want companies to provide information about environmental commitments on the package to help them make informed purchases “ Any disclosures needed to prevent an advertisement from being misleading must be clear and prominent and in close proximity to the claim…Websites cannot be used to qualify…because consumers likely would not see that information before their purchase.” Companies must provide supporting information at point of sale 2011 Cone Green Gap Trend Tracker
Be a Resource Smartphone Label Readers On-pack Information “ This package is suitable for industrial composting. However, industrial composting isn’t available in all areas, so check to see if such a facility exists in your community.” Companies must provide supporting information at point of sale QR Codes “ SEE WHAT MAKES OUR BEEF SO NATURAL AND DELICIOUS. Watch the video on your smartphone.”
Be Grounded Green Environmentally Friendly Earth Friendly Eco-Safe Energy Efficient Carbon Neutral Recyclable Zero Waste Sustainable 67% of consumers wish companies would do a better job helping them understand the environmental terms they use to talk about their products and services Tell a story that ensures what the product delivers is what consumers believe 2011 Cone Green Gap Trend Tracker
Be Realistic Put claims in wider context with humility and “work in progress” tone 75% of consumers say it’s ok if a company is not environmentally perfect, as long as it is honest about its efforts “… we produced a solution that preserved wetlands.” 2011 Cone Green Gap Trend Tracker
Green Gap Persists <ul><li>When Americans see a product advertised as “green” or “environmentally friendly,” they believe it means: </li></ul>29% Majority of consumers misinterpret general environmental claims 2011 Cone Green Gap Trend Tracker
Testing Environmental Purchase Drivers 2011 Cone Green Gap Trend Tracker 1-in-2 (51%) 1-in-3 (30%) 1-in-5 (19%)
Certifications: Consumer Perception 2011 Cone Green Gap Trend Tracker
Imagery: Consumer Perception 2011 Cone Green Gap Trend Tracker
Claims: Consumer Perception 2011 Cone Green Gap Trend Tracker
Risk of Consumer Backlash 37% will avoid the company’s products altogether 2011 Cone Green Gap Trend Tracker
Claims of General Environmental Benefit <ul><li>Harnessing the Power of Nature </li></ul><ul><li>100% Naturally Derived Surfactants </li></ul><ul><li>More Sensible for the Environment </li></ul>
“ Clean with the Power of Clorox” Clorox (GreenWorks) Report #5089 (2009)
S.C. Johnson Greenlist Milwaukee Journal Sentinel , 2/9/11 “ Litigation…contends S.C. Johnson is deceptively implying that Windex and Shout have been tested by a neutral 3 rd party and found to be environmentally friendly.” S.C. Johnson Response “ We’re very proud of our accomplishments under the Greenlist system.”