Category Archives: Green claims

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Raise the Green Bar Summit

We’re excited to plug an event that our client Made Safe is hosting next week (November 8) in New York City with the Good Housekeeping Institute. Made Safe, which works with companies to certify that their products do not contain ingredients known or suspected to harm human health, is partnering with Good Housekeeping for a … Continue Reading

What’s the Federal Trade Commission Been Up to Recently?

A change in administration inevitably raises questions regarding the priorities and direction of federal agencies. To help set the record straight, Lesley Fair, a Senior Attorney with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC or Commission), Bureau of Consumer Protection, reminded us during last week’s NAD Annual Conference that the FTC has kept quite busy over the last … Continue Reading

FTC’s Warning on Green Paint Claims Required a Second Coat

As we previously blogged, the FTC went after several paint companies (Benjamin Moore, ICP, YOLO and Imperial Paints) for advertising that their paints were VOC-free when that claim was true only before colors were added to the paint. Time and technology march on, and several manufacturers thought they had solved this problem, proclaiming boldly that … Continue Reading

CoffeeTalk on Native Advertising with FTC Commissioner Brill

We like drinking coffee; thoughtful conversations with friends and watching videos so we thought why not do all three. Below is the first of periodic vlogs that we hope to bring to you – FTC Commissioner Brill sharing some good coffee, good company and some thoughts on Native Advertising and whose shoes she tries to walk in when parties … Continue Reading

Crying for Federal Micromanagement — Complying with Conflicting Federal, State and Local Microbead Laws has Personal Care Products Companies in Need of Relief

Given the increasingly national scope of commerce, consumer products companies find it difficult to deal with issues regulated at the state level, particularly if states adopt differing and sometimes conflicting solutions to a common problem.  As a result, industry often turns to the federal government for help in creating a common federal solution.  The FTC’s … Continue Reading

Not Your Mother’s Red Solo Cup

We have sometimes described finding materials that will quickly biodegrade in landfills as the Holy Grail of environmental marketing.  But who would have guessed it would come in the form of a polystyrene cup? Well, not exactly, the NAD cautioned in a recent decision.  New Win Cup Holdings marketed the Vio cup, which it claimed … Continue Reading

Consensus Among FTC Commissioners on Green Claims Appears To Be Biodegrading

On Monday, the FTC Commissioners issued an opinion and Final Order, finding that ECM BioFilms, Inc. (“ECM”) made false, misleading, and unsubstantiated environmental claims about its chemical additive product.  According to the FTC’s Complaint filed in October 2013, ECM’s advertisements and marketing materials claimed its product would cause plastics using its additive to: (i) biodegrade … Continue Reading

FTC Goes Seal Hunting: Issues Warning Letters About Green Seals

No, PETA will not be in an uproar.  But if you certify Green claims or use someone else’s certification on your products you may want to continue reading. In the past we have noted that third-party certifications and endorsements relating to environmental or “green” attributes are heavily scrutinized by the FTC as more “green” products continue … Continue Reading

When Your Brand Name is a Claim—NAD Cleans and Straightens Without Support from Advertiser

There is lore that the beauty industry does not challenge itself sufficiently before NAD, and for this reason NAD brings more monitoring challenges in this area. After the recent decision in a case brought by Unilever, we would not be surprised if we see more competitor challenges in this area. And advertisers on the receiving … Continue Reading

From Bamboo to Rayon: What a Long Strange Trip It Is

Rayon, or Viscose if you’re British or just want to sound British, is typically made from wood pulp or plant fibers, including bamboo.  However, in doing so the fibers are subject to significant processing, including numerous chemicals, thus the Grateful Dead reference in the title.  Nevertheless, in a time when consumers are concerned about the … Continue Reading

BBB Updates Advertising Code to Keep Pace with Technology

The Better Business Bureau (BBB), known for being the home of NAD, CARU and other advertising self-regulatory forums, is now also the proud owner of an updated advertising code.  The BBB announced earlier this month significant updates to its Code of Advertising for the first time since 1985 (when the number one single was “Careless … Continue Reading

Marketers and Sellers of Animal Waste Bags May Be in the Doghouse for Biodegradable and Compostable Claims

Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) sent warning letters to 20 manufacturers and marketers of dog waste bags because claims that the bags are “biodegradable,” “compostable,” and other green claims may be deceptive. As we blogged about in last October, the FTC issued warning letters to companies about their claims that their plastic … Continue Reading

FTC Warns Companies That “Oxodegradable” Claims May Break Down

“Paper or plastic?”  The age-old question, complicated by the creation of biodegradable plastic, has been broken down more.  Many people’s misgivings about using plastic bags were alleviated with the advent of plastic bags that can carry more weight with less guilt.  However, after this week, there is no question that the FTC is serious about … Continue Reading

Is Chiquita in a Bunch of Trouble Over Green Claims?

Advertisers seek out third-party certifications and endorsements for their environmental efforts as a means of providing credibility to green claims made to consumers.  Indeed, the FTC’s Green Guides make clear that companies who choose instead to “self-certify” must make that fact clear to consumers precisely because consumers may view self-certification with more skepticism. But can … Continue Reading

FTC Takes Plastic Lumber Manufacturers to the Wood Shed for Misleading Green Claims

While enjoying these lovely summer days, did you ever wonder how many milk jugs or detergent bottles went into making that “green” picnic table you’re sitting at? You may now. The already peculiar concept of “plastic lumber” is further complicated when manufacturers make false statements about its contents. As new products emerge touting environmental attributes, … Continue Reading

How to Keep Cool with all of the Confusing Cases with ‘Up To’ Claims?

In a recent NAD case Honeywell International, Inc. challenged claims made by Nest Labs, Inc. for its Nest Programmable Thermostats in print and internet advertising. Honeywell challenged several performance-related “up to” claims (claims that convey performance-capacity/energy-savings “up to” a certain percentage point). Rather than run through each claim in the 30+ page decision and the … Continue Reading

Old Drones Never Die, They Just Biodegrade

Regular readers of our blog know that we try to write about subjects that are very top of mind.  But how to write an advertising blog about surveillance and snooping?  Thankfully the University of Queensland in Australia has provided the answer – biodegradable drones.  A team of researchers there have created two drones – one shaped … Continue Reading

The One That Got Away: FTC Provides Little Guidance on Sustainable Seafood Label

When the FTC released its revised Green Guides last October, the Agency provided detailed guidance on a number of topics but declined to provide guidance on the claim of “sustainability.”  In doing so, the Commission noted that its job is not to define terms but rather to help advertisers avoid making claims in a manner … Continue Reading

USDA Releases Draft Guidance on the Definition of Natural vs. Synthetic

On April 2, 2013, USDA released Draft Guidance here, here, and here addressing an issue that has plagued the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB”) for years: how to determine whether a substance is agricultural or non-agricultural and synthetic or non-synthetic. These determinations are paramount when considering whether a substance may be used in “organic” or “made … Continue Reading

FTC Forces Paint Companies to Remove “Green” From Their Palette

The paint was hardly dry and the pixels hardly dissolved on the FTC’s revised Green Guides, before the Commission announced two green marketing settlements.  Several paint companies had been marketing their paints as “free of” volatile organic compounds or VOCs as those of us who were organic chemistry majors like to call them.  Eliminating VOCs can be … Continue Reading

Upcoming Panels on Green Guides and Up To Claims

The ABA Antitrust Section is sponsoring two terrific free panels. One on Friday, October 12 at 2 p.m.  with Jim Kohm from the FTC reviewing the final Green Guides. Another on Monday, October 15 will focus on the FTC’s recent cases involving “up to” or maximum performance claims. Amy Mudge will be moderating both panels. They … Continue Reading