FTC Requests Comment on Potential Revisions to Green Guides
On December 20, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a Request for Comment (Request) on potential revisions to its Green Guides for the Use of Environmental Claims (Green Guides). The Request seeks information on a wide range of environmental marketing claims both currently and potentially covered by the Green Guides – including claims related to recycling, climate change, energy use and efficiency, and sustainability. The Green Guides outline the FTC’s position on avoiding deceptive environmental marketing claims, including the level of evidence needed to support specific kinds of claims. The FTC and others, including state and private-party litigants, often rely on the Green Guides in bringing enforcement actions related to environmental claims.
The Green Guides were last updated in 2012, and, given the pace of change and the importance of environmental claims over the last 10 years, the Request provides the best opportunity to engage with the FTC on any revisions to the Green Guides for years to come. The Request broadly seeks comment on how the Green Guides have worked in practice, and whether any changes should be made going forward. Comments are due February 21, 2023.
The upcoming public comment period is a critical time for stakeholders to provide input on permissible claims and appropriate guidance from the agency. Complexities abound in association with specific types of environmental claims, the potential for new guidance, and the interface with litigation and enforcement. Although companies have until mid-February to weigh in, we’re already working with clients on their strategic planning. In our experience, discussions on where industry would like this update to land cannot start soon enough.