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Flexo Sustainable : Fall 2012
FTC Revises “Green Guides” In an effort to help marketers avoid making misleading environmental claims, the Federal Trade Comission (FTC) has revised its “Green Guides. ” These guides mirror public sentiment from consumers and industry experts concerning the ramifications of labeling products as “environmentally friendly. ” Research has indicated that customers perceive this type of labeling as having “specific and far-reaching” benefits, that, the government says the products may not have. Guideline were first issued in 1992 and revised in 1996 and 1998. Additional revisions were also added in 2010, and those are now final in the 314-page publication released in August. The guide can be accessed here: http://www.ftc.gov/ os/2012/10/greenguides.pdf. FTC executives made a point to explain that the intent was not to discourage companies from emphasizing their legiti- mate claims to environmental benefits or commitments to sustainable practices, and then cited their specific purpose as follows: • Advise marketers not to make an unqualified degrad- able claim for a solid waste product, unless they can prove that the entire product or package will completely break down and return to nature within one year after customary disposal • Caution that items destined for landfills, incinerators, or recycling facilities will not degrade within a year, so mar- keters should not make unqualified degradable claims for these items • Clarify guidance on compostable, ozone, recyclable, recycled content, and source reduction claims The updated guides contain a number of new sections including: certification and seals of approval, carbon offsets, “ free-of ” claims, non-toxic claims; made with renewable energy claims; and made with renewable material claims. Nearly 340 unique comments and more than 5,000 total, re- ceived since the FTC released the proposed revised guides in the fall of 2010, are reflected in the new publications. They include information gathered from three public workshops and a study of how consumers perceive and understand environmental claims. 2 Sustainable FLEXO fall 2012 www.flexomag.com SuSTainabLE ShORTS