The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released much-anticipated revisions for its Green Guides, which are designed to help marketers understand, qualify, and accurately describe the sustainability claims of their company’s products and services. Revisions to the Guides, which last occurred 12 years ago, will be a welcome update in a time period when green marketing claims are rampant and concerns about greenwashing—intentional or accidental—are growing every day.

According to a statement from the FTC, the proposed revisions, which are open for public comment until Dec. 10, will make the Guides easier to understand and use, strengthen the existing guidance, and provide new guidelines on more recent marketing claims.

Some of the revisions include:

  • Caution against blanket, general claims such as “environmentally friendly.” 

  • Caution against the use of unqualified certifications and labels. 

  • Advice on how consumers are likely to interpret certain environmental claims and the proper use of such claims, including “degradable,” “recyclable,” and “non-toxic.” 

  • Caution against using the terms “renewable materials” and “renewable energy,” and instead providing specific information about the material and energy used. 

  • Advice about carbon offset claims.

Click here to view a summary of the proposed changes. The full proposal can be found here.

Comments can be submitted here.

Katy Tomasulo is Deputy Editor of EcoHome.