Sustainability: Prepare for new Green Guidelines | WARC | The Feed
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Sustainability: Prepare for new Green Guidelines
The Federal Trade Commission’s new guide to environmental marketing claims is due out this year and will be critical to brands pushing their sustainable credentials without greenwashing – but examples from around the world offer useful hints of how to prepare.
Why it matters
Last revised in 2012, the Wall Street Journal reports, the current guidance is vague in some areas that are now key, while also omitting terms that are now well-used but also quite easily abused – like ‘net zero.’ Consumers are sceptical of many such claims, and stricter regulations can help build trust across the board.
What to know
- Expect updated guidance on broad terms like ‘sustainable’.
- Expect a greater emphasis on life-cycle assessments of environmental claims. This takes in the impact of raw materials, the recyclability of products, and the use of carbon offsetting, which is not nearly as environmentally effective as reducing carbon impact within the supply chain.
- US marketers would do well to look at existing guidelines in markets that have already regulated such claims such as in Europe. In many cases, independent auditing and certification have been a useful tool for some brands.
It follows efforts from other regulators, like the UK’s advertising and competition watchdogs whose strengthened rules have raised the burden of proof on green claims. The FTC has also acted against some major firms, but usually for misleading claims rather than thinly evidenced claims. This could yet change.
These new guidelines will determine what brands will be able to say in their marketing communications and what could draw scrutiny. At their best, these regulations could help truly green brands stand out from those who merely talk about it.
Sourced from the WSJ, WARC
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