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By: Jeff Falk
Posted: November 18, 2010, from the December 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 9 of 10

And all the focus is not just on ingredients. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is seeking to make revisions for the “Green Guides,” which are designed to “help” marketers avoid making misleading product claims. The agency claims the new revisions will make claims easier to understand and use. Revisions to the guides include guidance for product claims such as “green,” “eco-friendly,” and “free-from;” and seals of approval.

I find this particularly interesting in how it pertains to the natural/chemical divide, how some exploit that divide and to agenda-driven special interests.

On the surface, the proposal is good for consumers and may make it simpler to speak to consumer expectations.

“In recent years, businesses have increasingly used ‘green’ marketing to capture consumers’ attention and move Americans toward a more environmentally friendly future,” said FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz in a commission press release. “But what companies think [these] claims mean and what consumers really understand are sometimes two different things. The proposed updates will help businesses better align their product claims with consumer expectations.”

In addition, the revised guides advise marketers how consumers are likely to understand certain environmental claims, including that a product is degradable, compostable, or “free-from” a particular substance.