If you make environmental claims in your marketing or have clients who do, today’s the day you’ve been waiting for: the release of the FTC’s revised Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims — the Green Guides. In the next few weeks, we’ll follow up with blog posts going into detail about what’s new, what’s changed, and what’s stayed the same. But here’s our suggested TO DO list to help you get started.
Read the summary. The four-page Environmental Claims: Summary of the Green Guides is a good place to start. In addition to a brief explanation of the FTC’s approach to general environmental benefit claims, the summary offers an alphabetical list of terminology commonly used in green marketing — from carbon offsets to source reduction — with key compliance bullet points.
Watch the video. If today is jam-packed and you have only a few minutes to spare, this new video offers a big-picture perspective on what marketers need to know about the revised Green Guides. Link to it from your website or pass it along to clients. It’s a good introduction to the issue.
Go straight to the source. The best way to find out what’s in the Green Guides is to dive right in. They’re loaded with real-world examples that offer insights into some of the ad claims you may be thinking about making. Brew something refreshing (green tea would be appropriate), get comfortable, and be the first in your office to read them. Interested in the deep cuts? The Statement of Basis and Purpose incudes a detailed bell-whistles-and-footnotes analysis of the reasoning behind the revisions, based on the feedback we got from consumers and businesses.
Bookmark the page. The BCP Business Center’s Environmental Marketing page is a one-stop shop for resources related to green claims and energy representations. In the middle of the page, you'll find brochures and feature articles you're welcome to adapt for your website or share with clients or employees. Like all topic pages in the Business Center, you're just one click away from:
- Case Highlights: A listing of relevant law enforcement actions sortable alphabetically or with the newest cases first
- Laws, Rules, and Guides: A linked listing to topical material in the U.S. Code or Code of Federal Regulations
- Report and Workshops: Proceedings from conferences and in-depth FTC reports
- Compliance Documents: Closing letters, warning letters, and other resources to help you stay within the law.
Talk up the topic. Make copies of the four-page summary and hand it out at your next trade show or industry meeting. Active in a local business group? Green marketing is the perfect subject for a lunchtime presentation or newsletter article. In addition to resources for businesses, the FTC has a new publication for consumers, Shopping “Green." Send the link to your customers. Share it with your homeowners’ or tenants’ association, send it to your neighborhood listserv, and pin it up on a community bulletin board. Write a summary for the newsletter of your community group or club. Pass it on to the staff of the local recycling center, volunteers at the community garden, or municipal employees that work on environmental matters.
FTC staff will answer questions on Twitter at 2:00 on Monday, October 1st. Follow @FTC and tweet questions using #FTCgreen.
Coming up: More on the specifics of the revised Green Guides