The FTC Cracks Down on Eco-Labels


Fall is in the air, and the FTC is back at it again. The oversaturated “green” market is getting a little bit of a kick from the FTC again after the Bamboo Scandal in February of 2010. The Federal Trade Commission has decided to regulate the terms many big brands have started to use in promoting their products as a green as can be.

Why the Crack Down?

This regulatory body’s efforts to reinforce meaning in the green marketplace has come after a sea of over 300 third-party certifications have been created and big brands can’t market anything without a little eco-twist. The FTC has said that their interest comes from their responsibility to hold companies responsible for the claims that they make on their packaging. A lesson learned by several retailers after the FTC exposed them as selling Rayon in place of Bamboo.

Is it Good or Bad for Consumers?

It is too early to say. As for now, it should be a good transformation from random claims and strategic names of “The Eco Window 2000″ which has nothing to do with being eco-friendly outside of its name. As for the 300+ third-party certifiers, this information may come a little too late. Since the United States government has failed to regulate many products and claims the same way other developed nations have over the past 20 years, third party certifiers emerged as a solution to a growing problem in the US. They provided information and security in eco-claims. Now, the new FTC guidelines may make some of these certifications irrelevant, or they may even conflict with the new guidelines.

Where are these Mysterious Guidelines?

They are listed on the FTC’s website as: Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Campaigns found here. Check them out for yourself.

So the good news is that the US government has belatedly started to regulate environmental claims, and hopefully as third party certifiers with worthy certifications come to understand the new rules, they will work together to solve the discrepancies. It looks as though this may be the first significant step they will make in stopping the greenwashing game through regulation.

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  1. May companies claim that their product is green to attract more customers. But the reality is entirely different.

  2. This should be good news for consumers in the long run. There may be some initial confusion, but eventually it should clear up any doubt about eco claims. Companies should not be able to make such claims unless they actually are legit.

  3. Glad to see this. My site seeks out, reviews and investigates many products that intend to reduce energy consumption, and it is amazing how many companies use clever marketing and misleading names and statements to ‘show up’ in that product space.

  4. It’s about time, they stopped mis-leading the public! Finally they are doing something.

  5. Yes it is has been far too long that companies have gotten away with practices like this. It has gotten to the point that consumers cannot trust packaging claims. It really is too bad for all the companies who actually are making sincere efforts to be more environmentally friendly.

  6. It’s good to see some regulation in place so that companies can’t market their products for something that it is not. Everybody’s gonna win, well perhaps except the companies who were trying to misrepresent their product.


  7. Nothing annoys me more than fake claims like that. I’ve been suspicious on more than one occasion when looking at labels on various products and now it seems I was right to be so.

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