If you are a franchisor that distributes products or if you are a company that manufacturers or distributes products that contain “environmental marketing claims,” you need to be familiar with the “guidelines” issued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
According to the FTC, an environmental marketing claim relates to and includes “an expressed or implied claim that presents an objective assertion about the environmental attribute of a product, package or service.”
Because the FTC has interpreted existing rules and regulations to apply to environmental marketing claims. The FTC has issued guidelines that prohibit a broad range of “environmental representations” claimed by the FTC to constitute unlawful deceptive acts and practices.
Environmental claims included in labeling, advertising, promotional materials and all other forms of marketing whether asserted directly or by implication.
There are many guidelines with application to various aspects of environmental claims that, quite often, appear on products, packaging and labels. Although a full review of these guidelines goes beyond the scope of this article there are nevertheless some general guidelines and principals that franchisors, manufacturers, distributors and retailers must be aware of when designing product packaging that contains environmental claims. These general principals include:
Although I believe this environmental claims regulation presents an unnecessary burden, the FTC has done a good job of offering examples and commentary to provide guidance as to these regulated issues. Franchisors, manufacturers, distributors and even retailers need to be aware of these regulations, and when it come time to designing your packaging and promotional materials, scrutinize your environmental claims and ensure compliance with the FTC rules. Doing so will avoid unnecessary litigation and consumer class action claims.
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