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FTC Wants Advertisers Substantiate Claims over “Green” Products
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On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission said that advertisers who entice customers with claims of their products being “green” or “eco-friendly” would need to substantiate their claims. The FTC warned companies to demarcate claims clearly upon their real worth like being “compostable” in contrast to just labeling something as ‘green.’ In response to the frustrations of consumer groups and environmental groups upset with deceptive advertising touting eco-friendliness, the FTC said from now on, such eco-friendly claims can be made only if the advertisers can prove that the claims are true and significant.

The FTC also advised advertisers to stay away from overbroad terms like “green” or “eco-friendly” which are extremely difficult to substantiate against all relevant challenges.

The FTC made significant changes to its guidelines to clarify matters on the issue to advertisers. The last such major revision to the FTC guidelines had been made in 1998.

  
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Jon Leibowitz, the FTC Chairman, said “Most marketers are honest. They’re not in the business of lying to customers.”

However, critics hold that the FTC guidelines have left a huge area unattended by not including products like soaps or shampoos on the ground that the Food and Drug Administration regulated personal care products.

However, the FTC said in its notice of adopting the revised Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims that, “The guides advise marketers not to imply that any specific benefit is significant if it is, in fact, negligible.”

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