8 Legal Tips for Green Ads
- You want to shout out that your new turtle litter boxes are green! They help manage that pesky waste in a way that's better for the planet and are recyclable to boot!
- Just make sure you qualify that general term "green," which by itself would be a no-no, with clear and prominent language to clarify that your "green" claim refers only to the environmental benefits—from the product being recyclable (see Tip Six) and being the best way to manage turtle waste. (Whether the reasonable consumer would ever buy this product is questionable, but beyond the scope of this article.)
- If you're advertising online, use qualifications the right way with FTC's ".com Disclosures" guidance, updated in March 2013 for the first time since 2000.
5. Know What the Green Guides Cover
- Non-Toxic and "Free Of" claims; Biodegradable, Compostable, Recyclable, and Refillable claims; Made with renewable energy, renewable materials or recycled content claims; VOC-free, Ozone-safe or ozone-friendly, and Carbon offset claims; and using certifications and seals of approval.
- Don't memorize this list. Just know what it includes so you can review it and always review it. The regulation of these terms is not as straightforward as it may seem when actually applied to your dream marketing campaign. Get green marketing legal advice.
- For example, to claim a product (or its packaging) is "recyclable," recycling facilities should be available to at least 60 percent of consumers or communities where the item is sold. If not, apply Tip Four with a qualification such as, "This package may not be recyclable in your area."
6. Support Your Claims With Reliable, Sound Science
- List all express and implied claims.
- For each claim, list all reasonable interpretations of the claim.
- Support each reasonable interpretation with a sufficient quantity and quality of evidence, based on standards generally accepted in relevant scientific fields.
7. Know the Endorsement Rules