Advertising Age is releasing a report today entitled “How to Make Credible Green Marketing Claims: What Marketers Need to Know about the Updated FTC Green Guides.” Co-authored by Jacquelyn Ottman of J. Ottman Consulting and David Mallen from the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau, the report comes just in time for the one-year anniversary of the most recent update of the Guides.
The FTC published the first edition of the Green Guides in 1992, to help advertisers avoid deceptive or misleading environmental marketing claims. These Guides are now the go-to standards for green marketing claims and have counterparts in Canada, UK and Australia.
Required reading for CPG and FMCG industries.
— David Stangis, VP of Public Affairs and Corporate Responsibility, The Campbell Soup Company
The FTC Green Guides have been updated periodically as the green marketing landscape has evolved. The latest update addresses such new additions to the lexicon as ‘carbon offsets’ and ‘renewable materials’ and spotlights the use of corporate and product-related ecolabels and certifications. Most importantly, it all but eliminates the use of terms, images and other attempts to communicate generalized environmental claims such as “green,” “environmentally friendly” and ‘eco-friendly.”
A much-needed book. It can serve as a useful guide to anyone who wants to get it right.
— Yalmaz Siddiqui, Sr Director of Environmental Strategy, Office Depot
The new report provides:
- an overview of the Green Guides and how they can help businesses reduce risks of greenwash and overcome consumer ‘green fatigue’
- a detailed discussion of what’s new to the FTC Green Guides since the previous update in 1998 (in a word, a lot!)
- several case studies from the NAD, FTC and well-known brands whose claims have been called into question with lessons learned
- the 43-item “Ottman Checklist for Credible Green Marketing,” which guides businesses step-by-step through a process for ensuring they stay in check with the Guides
- five alternative strategies for underscoring credibility — including a discussion as to why cause marketing may be dead
- seven charts and graphs of recent data on consumer attitudes towards green claims, eco-labels, etc
- the complete text of the 2012 FTC Green Guides, as well as a variety of helpful links