March 20, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 79


March 17, 2023

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FTC Issues Green Guides Questionnaire

As we recently reported, the FTC voted to issue a notice in the Federal Register seeking input on updating its Green Guides. The FTC’s notice seeks input on a number of areas addressed by the current Guides, which last were updated in 2012.

Among the environmental marketing claims the agency is asking the public to weigh in on are:

  • Carbon Offsets—whether there are any specific claims related to carbon offsets not currently addressed by the Green Guides and whether there is any consumer research on consumer perception of climate change claims such as “net zero,” “carbon neutral,” “low carbon,” or “carbon negative;”

  • Degradable—whether the FTC should revise the Guides to provide an alternative timeframe for product decomposition (currently set at one year);

  • Recyclable

    • whether the definition of “availability to a substantial majority of consumers/communities” should be revised from 60% availability to reflect a new threshold;

    • whether the Guides should address claims for items collected by recycling programs but not ultimately recycled due to market demand, budgetary constraints, etc.;

  • Recycled Content—should the Guides be modified to provide guidance on making such claims based on alternative methods such as mass balance calculations, certificate systems or other methods;

  • Energy Use/Efficiency—should the Guides address such claims for home-related products, electric vehicles or other products;

  • Organic and Sustainable—should the FTC revisit its earlier determination not to issue guidance on such claims; and

  • Ozone Safe/Friendly—whether the FTC should modify its guidance given that certain ozone-depleting chemicals now are banned by the EPA.

In addition, the FTC is seeking input on whether the agency should consider a rulemaking to codify some or all of its green guidance.

The agency will start taking comments as soon as the notice is published in the Federal Register and for 60 days thereafter.

Copyright © 2023, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 348

About this Author

Phyllis H. Marcus Partner Consumer Products Food Industry Retail Practices

With 17 years of experience at the FTC, Phyllis brings a unique advertising and children’s privacy vantage point to our clients.

Phyllis heads the firm’s advertising counseling practice, and focuses on all aspects of advertising, from the initial development of a claim to its ultimate defense in the marketplace. Phyllis’s practice includes claim creation and substantiation, pre-acquisition due diligence, dissemination in traditional and digital media, and both offensive and defensive competitor challenges. She also counsels clients on the intricacies of compliance with the Children’...