The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it seeks public comment on potential updates and changes to its Green Guides. These guides were first issued in 1992 and revised in 1996, 1998 and 2012. They serve as a tool to help marketers avoid making environmental claims that mislead consumers.

To remain current and provide clear answers to today’s questions, the FTC invites the public to submit comments in a process that might lead to significant changes.

The FTC is requesting public comment on whether there is a continuing need for the Green Guides; what benefits the Green Guides provide consumers and what evidence supports any asserted benefits; and whether and what modifications should be made to the Green Guides to increase their benefits to consumers.

The FTC also seeks input on the following:

  • Carbon Offsets and Climate Change: The FTC should revise its guidance on carbon offsets and whether it should address other claims related to carbon offsets or climate change, such as “net zero” or “carbon neutral.”
  • Recyclable: The FTC asks several questions about “recyclable” claims, including whether marketers should be able to make those claims for products collected by recycling programs but ultimately not recycled “due to market demand, budgetary constraints, or other factors.”
  • Recycled: The FTC asks whether unqualified claims about recycled content – particularly claims related to “pre-consumer” and “post-industrial” content – are widely understood by consumers and whether alternative methods of substantiating recycled content claims may be appropriate.
  • Sustainable: In 2012, the FTC declined to address “sustainable” claims. Those have gotten more popular over the past ten years. The FTC asks whether it’s time to revisit that.

The initial comment period will open in mid-January 2023, when the request for public comment is published in the Federal Register and will last for 60 days.