November 2010 - The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed revisions to the Green Guides that include new guidance on making renewable energy claims. The Green Guides, which were last revised in 1998, provide guidance to marketers in order to help them from making misleading environmental claims.
The proposed guidance states that it would be deceptive for a company to represent, either directly or by implication, that it uses renewable energy if it is generating renewable electricity but selling the renewable energy certificates. The proposed guidance also states that it would be deceptive for such company to say that it "hosts a renewable power facility" because the FTC found that reasonable consumers likely would misinterpret the claim to mean that the company uses renewable energy.
The FTC also proposes that marketers should not make unqualified renewable energy claims if part of the power used to manufacture any part of a product was derived from fossil fuels. The FTC is accepting public comment on the proposed revision until December 10, 2010.
News Release - Federal Trade Commission Proposes Revised "Green Guides"
Additional Information - FTC's proposed revisions to green guides
November 2007 - The Federal Trade Commission is beginning a regulatory review of its environmental marketing guidelines, also known as the Green Guides.
The guides outline general principles for all environmental marketing claims and provide specifics about certain green claims. The Commission is requesting comments on the guides, including standard questions about effectiveness of the guides, and questions on specific topics, including "sustainable" and "renewable" claims. While the review was scheduled to begin in 2009, because of the current increase in green advertising claims, the Commission is reviewing the guides at this time to ensure they reflect today's marketplace. The guides were last updated in 1998. The initial comment period on the Green Guides will be open until February 11, 2008.
As part of the Green Guides review, the FTC will be holding public meetings or workshops on a number of green marketing topics. The first workshop will examine the emerging market for carbon offsets (i.e., greenhouse gas emission reduction products) and renewable energy certificates (RECs), and related advertising claims. The workshop will focus on consumer protection issues in these markets, such as consumer perception of carbon offset and REC advertising claims and substantiation for such claims. The workshop will take place on January 8, 2008 at the FTC's Conference Center in Washington, DC.
News Release - FTC Reviews Environmental Marketing Guides, Announces Public Meetings
Additional Information - Request for Comments on Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (PDF 44 KB) Download Acrobat Reader
Additional Information - Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims
Additional Information - Complying with the Environmental Marketing Guides
FTC Contact: Hampton Newsome, (202) 326-2889