FTC To Propose Green Guide Changes

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The Federal Trade Commission Wednesday will unveil its proposals for revising guidelines on environmental marketing claims.

Those guides advise marketers on what "green marketing" claims the commission may find are unfair or deceptive.

They outline general principles, give the FTC's take on how consumers could be expected to interpret various claims, and provide guidance on how advertisers can qualify or support their claims to make sure they pass muster.

The FTC has been working on updating the guidelines for several years now. In June 2009, FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz testified before Congress about a "virtual tsunami" of environmental marketing.

The FTC's so-called "Green Guides" were last updated in 1998. They were not scheduled for review until 2009, but the commission decided to start in 2007, citing the rise in "green" marketing that Leibowitz referenced.

Ad agencies have been cautioning the commission not to take any steps that would "stifle the ability or the interest of a company to make positive steps in improving the environment or that would restrict a company's ability to market and communicate its activities in this area."

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