Category Archives: Green Marketing

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FTC’s “All Natural” Cases Are More About “All” Than “Natural”

The Federal Trade Commission announced last week filing of four consent decrees and an administrative complaint relating to companies selling various personal care products – shampoos, sunscreens, moisturizers – featuring claims such as “all natural” or “100% natural.”  The FTC alleges that these claims were false or misleading because all of the products at issue … Continue Reading

“Green” Certifications and Seals Do Not Have FTC Approval

On September 14, FTC staff sent warning letters to five providers of environmental certification seals and 32 businesses that display them online, alerting them to the agency’s concerns that the seals may be deceptive and may not comply with the FTC’s Green Guides.  Although the warning letters do not identify which certifiers, seals, or businesses … Continue Reading

Wet Wipes Manufacturer Must Back Up Its Flushing Claims (And Not Consumers’ Plumbing)

On May 18, 2015, the FTC announced a settlement with Nice-Pak Products, Inc., concerning claims that its moist wipes are “flushable,” “break apart after being flushed,” and are “safe” for sewer and septic systems. Nice-Pak marketed and sold its flushable wipes primarily through private label brands, such as Costco’s Kirkland Signature Moist Flushable Wipes, CVS’s … Continue Reading

FTC Administrative Law Judge Rejects Commission’s Definition of “Biodegradable”

Decision Also Reiterates Appropriate Standards for Consumer Perception Surveys On February 6, 2015, Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell announced his decision (“Initial Decision”) in the case of FTC vs. ECM BioFilms.  The Initial Decision rejects the FTC’s position codified in the FTC’s Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (“Green Guides”) that “[i]t is deceptive to … Continue Reading

Third Plastic Lumber Company Hammered by FTC Over “Green” Claims

Last week, the FTC announced it had reached another settlement with a plastic lumber company regarding its green marketing claims.  This is the FTC’s third settlement in five months relating to environmental claims for plastic lumber products (the other cases involved N.E.W. Plastics Corp. and American Plastic Lumber, Inc.). The FTC’s complaint alleges that Engineered … Continue Reading

Plastic Lumber Company Nailed Over “Green” Claims

The FTC announced last week that it had reached a settlement with N.E.W. Plastics Corp., d/b/a Renew Plastics, over allegedly improper recyclability and recycled content claims.  The company manufactures plastic lumber products – including its Evolve and Trimax brands – used primarily in outdoor decking and furniture.  According to the FTC’s complaint, the company claimed … Continue Reading

FTC Cries Foul Over Green Diaper Claims

The FTC recently announced that it had reached a settlement with Down to Earth Designs, d/b/a gDiapers, regarding composition, biodegradability, compostability, and disposability claims featured on the company’s infant diaper products.   gDiapers markets and sells baby wipes (gWipes), disposable diaper liners (gRefills), and reusable diaper shells (gPants). According to the FTC’s complaint, the company advertised … Continue Reading

FTC Announces Settlements on “No VOC” Claims

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced settlements with three mattress manufacturers last week that prohibit the manufacturers from making claims that their products are free from volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”) absent competent and reliable scientific evidence. The companies involved – Relief-Mart, Inc., Essentia Natural Memory Foam Company, Inc., Ecobaby Organics, Inc. – are all alleged … Continue Reading

New Tips for Complying with the Green Guides

In October, I posted an update on the FTC’s revised Green Guides. The Guides are designed to help marketers ensure the claims they make about the environmental benefits of their products are truthful and not misleading. Since then, Practical Law Company asked me to write a more detailed article about the Guides and what companies … Continue Reading

EPA Fines Computer Keyboard Manufacturer for Making Unverifiable Antimicrobial “Public Health” Claims

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to emphasize enforcement against companies that market or sell products with unregistered claims of protection against disease-causing bacteria and other microbes. In a settlement announced September 28, 2011, EPA levied a fine of $261,000 against computer keyboard and mouse manufacturer, Logitech Inc., for making "unsubstantiated public health claims" … Continue Reading

USDA Issues Final Rule Regarding Biobased Product Labeling

On January 20, 2011, the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) issued a final rule regarding a voluntary product certification and labeling program for biobased products. The new rule creates a distinctive USDA product mark for qualifying products and sets forth the standards that these products must meet to bear the USDA’s symbol. According to … Continue Reading

New Green Claims Raise Red Flags

In October, we posted that the FTC had proposed revisions to the “Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims,” more commonly known as the “Green Guides.” Among other things, the FTC’s proposed revisions address carbon offset claims and environmental certifications. In recent weeks, there has been legal actions on both of these issues. A … Continue Reading

FTC Releases Proposed Changes and New Guidance to The Green Guides

This week, the FTC issued its proposed revisions to the "Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims" (the "Green Guides") and announced that it will be accepting public comment on the Proposed Guides until December 10, 2010. The Green Guides, first issued in 1992 and last revised in 1998, are designed to help businesses … Continue Reading

Using “Green” Marketing Claims? Make Them Clear

With "green" products becoming more and more prevalent, marketers must ensure that their green marketing claims do not overstate the environmental benefits of their product or service, or they could face regulatory investigations or challenges from competitors. The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") has established national standards for green marketing claims in the Guides for the … Continue Reading

International Chamber of Commerce Announces New Framework for Green Claims

It’s no surprise that in our current economic condition consumer spending is down.  A company’s budget, and especially marketing dollars, have to work more efficiently than ever before.  While consumers may be watching their purse strings, “green” products are prevalent, and green marketing claims can be an effective way to break out of the clutter.  … Continue Reading