FTC aggressively enforcing improper “green” claims

Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Meagan Noel Newman and Ilana R. Morady

November 12, 2013

The Federal Trade Commission’s enforcement of green marketing violations is in full swing.

Last year, the agency published final changes to its Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, commonly known as the “Green Guides.” We had previously blogged in some detail concerning the revisions. Now, with the revised Green Guides in effect, the FTC is working hard to ensure compliance.

The FTC recently announced six enforcement actions based on alleged misleading and unsubstantiated environmental marketing claims. Five of the actions involve biodegradable plastics claims. The sixth action seeks to impose $450,000 in civil penalties in connection with environmental claims about paper plates and bags.  Interestingly, in some of these cases the actions were brought against companies who purchased an additive from another company that claimed the additive made the products biodegradable.

As the FTC continues to crack down on “Green” claims, companies need to assess their marketing campaigns and ensure that they are incorporating all of the new Green Guides’ requirements into their marketing strategy.  Additionally, companies should be weary of simply repeating claims made by their suppliers where they have not reviewed underlying scientific data to support those claims.

This article is being provided for informational purposes only and not for the purposes of providing legal advice or creating an attorney-client relationship. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem you may have. In addition, the opinions expressed herein are the opinions of Ms. Newman and Ms. Morady and may not reflect the opinions of Synergy Environmental, Inc., Seyfarth Shaw LLP or either of those firms’ clients.

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