The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released the final revisions to its “Green Guides,” which constitute the Commission’s guidance for making claims about the environmental benefits of a product in a manner that is not deceptive under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. The final revised Green Guides largely reflect the revisions the FTC posed in 2010, with some changes. The Green Guides were last updated in 1998, and, while the Commission has indicated it would consider reviewing discrete aspects of the guides if provided new information, it does not intend to conduct another full-scale review for another ten years. As guidance, the Green Guides reflect the “Commission’s current views about environmental claims” but do not reflect legal requirements or bind the Commission. They likely reflect, however, how the FTC would view a particular marketing claim in most situations, and the Commission notes recent enforcement actions based on environmental marketing claims in its discussion. The Green Guides will also likely inform state authorities and the class action bar in considering whether claims are reasonably considered deceptive.
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