The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has made amendments in its guidelines for eco-friendly moves in businesses. According to the chairman of the organization, Jon Leibowitz, the guidelines are revised with an objective to avoid dilemma between the various companies which incorporate ‘green’ movements and their customers. In most of the recent cases, what companies think green and what consumers really understand are sometimes two different things.
The new set of guidelines ‘Green Guides’ released on Wednesday include recommendations for when to use words certain general terms and expressions of green movements like “degradable” and “carbon offset,” in advertisements and packaging. It also made warnings about using certifications and seals of approval which mislead the customers.
This newly proposed revision says that the companies who make green claims should provide specifics about the materials and energy used in manufacturing. It also says that the consumers are often misled by certain terms such as ‘environmentally friendly’ are often interpreted to mean the product has specific environmental benefits. As always, FTC says that the companies require “competent and reliable scientific evidence” for their claims.
The proposal is the result of many public workshops and surveys. The last revision to the guidelines was made in 1998. The guidelines of FTC are not enforceable as law but the agency still can take action against unfair practices by the companies.