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FTC Releases Updated ‘Green Guides’ for Environmental Marketing Claims


BLOOMINGTON, IN – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released proposed revisions to its "Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims."

The proposed revisions to the "Green Guides” will help marketers avoid making misleading environmental claims, including new guidance on marketers' use of product certifications and seals of approval, "renewable energy" claims, "renewable materials" claims, and "carbon offset" claims.

The changes are designed to update the Guides and make them easier for companies to understand and use.

The FTC is seeking public comments on the proposed changes until December 10, 2010, after which it will decide which changes to make final. "The FTC has added new terms and examples to their long-awaited expanded version of the Green Guides that will help companies reduce their risk of greenwashing and will help purchasers be more informed," explains Steve Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group.

The Green Guides were first issued in 1992, and revised in 1996 and 1998, to help marketers ensure that the claims they are making are true and substantiated.

"In recent years, businesses have increasingly used 'green' marketing to capture consumers' attention and move Americans toward a more environmentally friendly future. But what companies think green claims mean and what consumers really understand are sometimes two different things," says Jon Leibowitz, FTC chairman. "The proposed updates to the Green Guides will help businesses better align their product claims with consumer expectations."

A summary of the proposed revised Guides can be found at: A complete version of the revised Guides can be found at:

The FTC is accepting comments on the Guides until December 10, 2010. Comments can be submitted electronically at: