The Federal Trade Commission Wednesday will unveil
its proposals for revising the FTC guidelines on environmental marketing claims.
Those guides advise marketers on what "green
marketing" claims the commission may find are unfair or deceptive.
They outline general principles, give the FTC's
take on how consumers could be expected to interpret various claims, and
provide guidance on how advertisers can qualify or support their claims to make
sure they pass muster.
The FTC has been working on updating the
guidelines for several years now. In June 2009, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz
testified before Congress about a "virtual tsunami" of environmental
The FTC's so-called "Green Guides" were
last updated in 1998. They were not scheduled for review until 2009, but the
commission decided to start in 2007, citing the rise in "green"
marketing that Leibowitz referenced.
Ad agencies have been cautioning the commission
not to take any steps that would "stifle the ability or the interest of a
company to make positive steps in improving the environment or that would
restrict a company's ability to market and communicate its activities in this