A guide to asserting your green credentials
Managing IP is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2024

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

A guide to asserting your green credentials

Companies that want to make claims about the environmental attributes of their products now have a new guide to getting it right from the FTC, the US competition and consumer watchdog

The Federal Trade Commission has issued revised versions of its so-called green guides to help marketing specialists avoid making spurious claims about their companies’ products.

“The introduction of environmentally friendly products into the marketplace is a win for consumers who want to purchase greener products and producers who want to sell them,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “But this win-win can only occur if marketers’ claims are truthful and substantiated.”

The rising number of companies making claims about the environmentally-friendly claims of their products has made it a hot topic for marketing specialists and for the IP lawyers who advise them. Two years ago INTA hosted a session on green marketing at its Annual Meeting.

But companies that adopt this marketing tactic run the risk of being accused of greenwashing if they cannot substantiate their statements.

To avoid that charge, the updated guides caution marketers not to make broad, unqualified claims that a product is “environmentally friendly” or “eco-friendly”. That’s because a consumer perception study carried out for the FTC reveals that these kinds of claims are likely to suggest that the product has specific and far-reaching environmental benefits.

They also contain a new section on certifications and seals of approval. These set out how marketers could disclose a so-called material connection that might affect the weight or credibility of an endorsement. The FTC also discourages the use of environmental certifications or seals that don’t clearly convey the basis for the certification, because such seals or certifications are likely to convey general environmental benefits.

Although the Green Guides are not agency rules or regulations, they describe the types of environmental claims the FTC might find deceptive, which could ultimately lead to a Commission ban on the advertising.

Managing IP has published an IP clinic on using certification marks offered by certifying organisations. You can read advice from the Soil Association, the CEO of a fair trade coffee company and a lawyer who advises businesses who want to certify their products.

more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

The firm was among multiple winners at a record-breaking 2024 ceremony held in London on April 11
We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
The Americas research cycle has commenced. Do not miss this opportunity to nominate your work!
Increased and new patent fees could affect prosecution strategies for law firms and companies, according to sources
Five former Oblon lawyers felt that joining Merchant & Gould would help them offer the right prices to entice clients
The UK may not be a UPC member but its firms are still acting in proceedings, with Carpmaels among the most prominent
Naomi Pearce of Pearce IP shares how she is helping her firm become a life sciences leader and how generous policies have helped attract top talent
The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal filed by Ocado, in what was a key test for transparency at the new court
Each week Managing IP speaks to a different IP lawyer or professional about their life and career
INTA is calling out ‘immoral’ unregistered attendees at the association’s annual meeting, but the debate is more nuanced
Gift this article