Marketing “Sustainability”: Don’t Forget the Green Guides

by Albert CohenSustainable Brands

In October 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued its revised “Green Guides,” which are designed to help marketers ensure that the claims they make about environmental attributes of their products are truthful. The guidelines set forth specific requirements for a wide variety of environmental claims, Significantly, however, the FTC did not address “sustainability” claims.

National Public Radio (NPR) recently ran a series on “sustainable” seafood claims. The series raised a host of issues regarding what these terms mean, whether the claims are verifiable, what “sustainable” certifications mean, and what they convey to the public. The series highlights issues that should be of concern to all marketers who claim that their products are “sustainable.”

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