Environmental Resources

Green Labeling

Confused by all the “green” claims by products on store shelves? There’s good reason to be. A recent study found that more than 95 percent of consumer products examined committed at least one offense of “greenwashing,” a term used to describe unproven environmental claims. This is according to TerraChoice, a North American environmental marketing company that issued the report.

Read the studies below to understand the implications of green labeling for your company, and be sure to visit other pages of GC’s Environmental Resource Center.

FTC Cracks Down on Misleading and Unsubstantiated Environmental Marketing Claims
Six enforcement actions, including one with a $450,000 fine and five that for the first time address biodegradable plastic claims, will penalize false and misleading environmental marketing.

Pepsi Pays $9M, Removes ‘All Natural’ Naked Juices Label
PepsiCo has agreed to remove the “all natural” label from its Naked juices and pay $9 million to settle a lawsuit that argued some of the ingredients in the fruit and veggie drinks aren’t “natural.”

Environmental Labels and Declarations – How ISO Standards Help
The problem with trying to be more environmentally conscious is knowing what to buy in order to make a real difference, especially when you hear so much about “green-washing.”

Clorox Mocks ‘Ridiculous Green’ Consumers
The company has launched a new marketing campaign with digital ads and interactive elements poking fun at eco-fanatics and attempting to make “eco-friendly people friendly again.”

FTC Finalizes ‘Rules of the Road’ for Environmental Marketers in Update to Green Guides
Effective October 11, 2012, the FTC Green Guides provide marketers with insight regarding when environmental marketing claims are unfair or deceptive and therefore subject to enforcement.

Amazon, Macy’s, Sears Settle with FTC over Bamboo Claims
The retailers have agreed to pay $1.26 million in penalties to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they misled customers by selling rayon fabrics labeled as made from bamboo fiber.

Green Building Materials Industry Report
This complimentary report from BASF looks at green material technologies, products, vendors, environmental metrics, benefits and challenges, and more.

Before You Make Environmental Product Claims…
Consider these “rules to live by” from Graphic Communications.

The Dos (and Don’ts) of On-product Environmental Claims
Stay out of hot water by following these product labeling rules for making responsible environmental claims.

FTC Releases 2012 Green Guides Summary and Report
Among many FTC guidelines for marketers is that making “green” or “made with recycled content” claims may be deceptive if the environmental costs outweigh the environmental benefits.

As More Marketers Go Green, Fewer Consumers Willing to Pay For It
As businesses ramp up marketing efforts to save the planet, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that consumers aren’t paying as much attention — at least if it’s going to cost them more.

FTC Increasing Scrutiny of Green Claims, Former Director Says
The Federal Trade Commission has stepped up its search for “unfair, deceptive or unsubstantiated environmental claims,” according to an attorney who is also a former FTC employee.

Navigating Eco-Certification Claims
In this video, Kendall Jackson Wines VP of Sustainability discusses how to determine whether third-party sustainability certification statements are true.

EPA Launches Green Product Web Portal
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has launched a green products web portal that can help manufacturers find information on standards and criteria for designing greener products.

More Consumers Believe Sustainability Claims – But Many Still Skeptical
Americans today are more likely to believe businesses’ green claims, but 39 percent still say that companies’ assertions about the environment are not accurate.

Are Your Marketing Claims ‘Green Guide’ Compliant?
Upcoming changes to the Federal Trade Commission’s “Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims” will further limit environmental claims.

ConAgra Sued Over ‘Natural’ Claims
Suit filed against the food giant says the company’s Wesson oil contains genetically modified ingredients and therefore doesn’t qualify as “natural.”

Google Using Blatant Greenwash To Promote New Catalog App
Google launched its Google Catalogs app this week with a shiny coat of greenwash. “A Greener Way to Shop,” proclaims the new product’s promotional page, which provides no substantiation for the claim.

EPA Demands Full Ingredients on Designed for the Environment Products
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will require all products using its Designed for the Environment labeling program to disclose their full ingredients to consumers.

CBS EcoAd Accused of Greenwashing in FTC Complaint
CBS is the target of a formal complaint to the Federal Trade Commission over their EcoAd program, which allegedly violates federal laws and FTC Green Guides for environmental advertising claims.

How to Make Environmental Marketing Claims
This AF&PA guide helps ensure compliance in your company’s use of the recycling symbol and environmental marketing claims.

New Green Guides Suggest Best Practices
On examination of the FTC’s new Green Guides and related consumer protection regulations, it is clear that renewable energy and carbon offset claims should be made carefully.

FTC Green Guidelines May Leave Marketers Red-Faced
The new set of so-called Green Guides could radically reshape how far marketers can go in painting their products, packaging or even corporate images green.

FTC Green Guides: What You Need to Know
To protect consumers and keep marketers honest, the Federal Trade Commission publishes the Green Guides, which are currently undergoing an extensive review.

FTC Moves May Signal Start of ‘Greenwashing’ Crackdown
The Federal Trade Commission is expected to crack down on “greenwashing” when it updates its environmental marketing guidelines.

FTC on Greenwashing: Is That All There Is?
Developments at hearing indicate that FTC is not on target for enacting new green marketing standards in mid-2009.

FTC Cracking Down on False Green Claims
Kmart Corp., Tender Corp., and Dyna-E International charged with making unsubstantiated claims that paper products were “biodegradable.”

FTC Green Guides
Learn how the FTC will apply Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices, to environmental marketing claims.

Has Green Stopped Giving?
Green marketing, a movement so hot that not even a deep recession could kill it, is starting to show signs of consumer revolt.

Greenmail Actions Against Corporations
Environmental groups threaten major U.S. and European companies to suspend purchase of paper products and palm oil from Indonesia and China.

‘Green’ Goods, Red Flags
A rash of Earth-friendly claims spurs a rising number of lawsuits and FTC actions.

Phony Products Get U.S. Energy-efficiency Label
Federal investigators who submitted phony products to the government’s energy efficiency certification program found it easy to obtain approval for the devices.

Move Over Greenwashing – ‘Localwashing’ Has Arrived
Here are some pictures of the worst ads by big companies pretending to be local.

Retailers, Check Your Shorts (or be Bamboozled)
Why would the big bad Federal Trade Commission go after a small business rather than a big retailer for violating consumer protection laws prohibiting false green product claims?

FTC Charges Clothing Firms With ‘Bamboo-zling’ The Public
Four companies selling clothing marketed as made from bamboo have been charged by the FTC with deceptive advertising and marketing claims.

U.S. Green Product Council Debated
With so many organizations claiming to certify various products and services as “green” or “sustainable,” is it time for a unified U.S. Green Product Council?

Shell Accused of Greenwashing, Again
A new ad from Royal Dutch Shell is once again causing the oil company’s critics to yell “greenwashing.”

Seven Sins of Greenwashing
Download this 2009 study from TerraChoice Environmental Marketing of environmental claims in North American consumer markets.


If you have environment information or tools you’d like us to consider sharing here, please contact our Director of Environmental Affairs, Ralph O’Connor.