Domtar, Industry Advocate for Clear Green Guides

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces Truth in Advertising laws that require marketing claims be truthful and substantiated by appropriate evidence. These are designed to protect consumers, including when they look to buy products promoted as being environmentally responsible.

The commission issues guidance specifically focused on sustainability, or “green,” marketing claims, commonly referred to as the FTC Green Guides to help marketers avoid making unfair or deceptive environmental promises.

These laws apply whether the marketing claim appears on paper, online or on the side of a bus. Ensuring believable claims helps build trust between buyers and sellers, which in turn facilitates efficient markets.

“Meeting customer needs without misrepresenting Domtar’s offerings is critical,” says Katie Zorn, Domtar’s vice president of marketing, product management & strategic planning. “The Green Guides are an essential resource that we reference before making any sustainability-related claims.”

With the recent growth of sustainability as a purchase driver, accurate environmentally-related claims are increasingly important. First released in 1992, the Green Guides reflect the FTC’s view on how marketers can avoid making misleading environmental claims on topics such as:
*Carbon Neutral

Companies found in violation of the guides can be required to stop making deceptive claims, risk litigation and may face penalties.

The Green Guides are typically updated once per decade and were last revised in 2012. Since then, broader consumer awareness of sustainability, new technology and the proliferation of third-party certification have raised issues that aren’t adequately addressed in the current rules.
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