How do you decide which products to buy? Price tags, product labels and ads likely play a part in your choice. They tell you about ingredients, how much product you get for the price, and whether a product has qualities that matter to you — like being environmentally safer. Since labels, ads and product claims influence our spending choices, it’s important they give us accurate and complete information.
The FTC sets guidelines for truth in advertising, including green advertising, and holds companies accountable for the claims they make. According to the FTC’s Green Guides, if a marketer puts a green seal or certification on products, it has to explain what the seal or certification is based on and it has to be specific. For example, a marketer could say the product is ‘biodegradable’ or ‘recyclable.’ It’s not enough for a seal to just say ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly;’ in fact, that could be deceptive. After searching online, the FTC found 32 marketers and five certifiers using seals with vague or incomplete wording, and sent letters warning them to review their ads.
You can read more from the FTC about green advertising claims, shopping green and making choices that are good for the environment.