Green America participated in the Federal Trade Commission’s 2023 public comment period on the Green Guides, formally endorsing the continuation and expansion of these important guides.
Started in 1992—and updated in 1996, 1998, and 2012—the Green Guides are tools for marketers to help avoid greenwashing. The FTC offers several areas of guidance for businesses and marketers, including:
- General principles that apply to all environmental marketing claims
- How consumers are likely to interpret particular claims and how marketers can substantiate these claims
- How marketers can qualify their claims to avoid deceiving consumers
Consumers are increasingly demanding green products, spurred by a desire to do their part in combatting the climate crisis. Unfortunately, factors like language, hyperbole, and generalization can muddle a company’s green claims, or even outright lead to false claims.
“Core to the work we do is ensuring that marketing claims made by companies regarding the sustainability of their products are valid,” the Green America’s letter states. “The FTC’s Green Guides have played an important role in addressing misrepresentations of environmental practices by companies, and we would like to see the FTC expand the guides and their enforcement.”
The letter goes on to outline the importance of these guides as well as their various effects on consumers, the economy and the planet.
Green America cites data which supports expansion of the Green Guides, negative impacts on both consumers and small businesses due to corporate greenwashing, a need for expanded enforcement and education, and more.
“The FTC should increase the scope and depth of the Green Guides and should increase enforcement to address the growing risk to consumers, businesses, and the environment of misleading marketing claims regarding sustainability and green practices by companies.”