Summary of the Green Guides
General Environmental Benefit Claims
Marketers should not make broad, unqualied general environmental benet claims like‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly.’ Broad claims are difcult to substantiate, if not impossible.
Marketers should qualify general claims with specic environmental benets.Qualications for any claim should be clear, prominent, and specic.
When a marketer qualies a general claim witha specic benet, consumers understand the benet to be signicant. As a result, marketersshouldn’t highlight small or unimportant benets.
If a qualied general claim conveys that a product has an overall environmental benet because of a specic attribute, marketersshould analyze the trade-offs resulting from theattribute to prove the claim.
Marketers should have competent and reliable scientic evidence to support carbon offsetclaims. They should use appropriate accounting methods to ensure they measure emissionreductions properly and don’t sell them more than once.
Marketers should disclose whether the offset purchase pays for emission reductions thatwon’t occur for at least two years.
Marketers should not advertise a carbon offset if the law already requires the activity that isthe basis of the offset.
Certifications and Seals of Approval
Certications and seals may be endorsements. According to the FTC’s Endorsement
Marketers should disclose any material connections to the certifying organization. Amaterial connection is one that could affect the credibility of the endorsement.
Marketers shouldn’t use environmental certications or seals that don’t clearly conveythe basis for the certication, because the seals or certications are likely to conveygeneral environmental benets.
To prevent deception, marketers using seals or certications that don’t convey the basisfor the certication should identify, clearly and prominently, specic environmental benets.
Claiming “Green, madewith recycled content”may be deceptive if theenvironmental costs ofusing recycled contentoutweigh the environmentalbenefits of using it.