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Marketing ‘green’ claims

Resources | September 1, 2011 | By:

I use some recycled materials in my products. Where can I go to find out the right terminology to use with my customers?

Although it’s great that you’re using recycled material, you’re right to be cautious about how you divulge that information to your customers. Unfortunately, there are some companies that practice ‘greenwashing,’ which means that they may be making more claims to environmental friendliness than they can actually substantiate.

In the United States, the entity that oversees the marketing of ‘green’ claims is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and in order to do that, the FTC has created the Environmental Guide. The Environmental Guide (sometimes known as the ‘Green Guide’) compiles administrative interpretations of various laws administered by the FTC that relate to environmental marketing.

What does the Environmental Guide cover? To quote the FTC’s website, “Environmental Guides apply to all forms of marketing for products and services: advertisements, labels, package inserts, promotional materials, words, symbols, logos, product brand names, and marketing through digital or electronic media, such as the Internet or email. They apply to any claim, express or implied, about the environmental attributes of a product, package or service in connection with the sale, offering for sale or marketing of the product, package or service for personal, family or household use, or for commercial, institutional or industrial use.”

SOURCE Federal Trade Commission

Juli Case is IFAI‘s information and technical services manager.

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