While perusing the internet, I came across an interesting article published, yesterday, online by Advertising Age.  This article indicates that the Federal Trade Commission is getting ready to release the long-awaited updates to its “Green Guides” and predicts that these new guidelines “could radically reshape how far marketers can go in painting their products, packaging or even corporate images green.”  For example, according to Advertising Age, “[t]he guides are expected to tighten standards for packaging claims such as ‘recyclable’ or ‘ biodegradable’; regulate how marketers use such terms as ‘carbon neutral’; and how quickly and close to the source of carbon output ‘carbon offsets’ must be executed[.]”

The FTC first issued the Green Guides, also known, more formally, as the Guide for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, in 1992 to assist marketers of products and services having environmental attributes to avoid running afoul of the Federal Trade Commission Act.  Over the years, the FTC has amended and supplemented the Green Guides and in 2008 the FTC held a series of workshops on the ever-expanding green product markets with an eye to broadening the scope of and the detailed guidelines within the Green Guides.  The draft updates have not yet been made available to the public on the FTC’s website, but according to an FTC spokesman quoted in the Advertising Age article, “the commission is on track to meet its schedule of issuing updated guidelines by the end of the summer, and that they’re likely to cover areas that were the subject of FTC workshops[.]”