Troubleshooting Legal Problems

Green business? Ensure you’re truthful in advertising

Many people look for products and services that are environmentally friendly. The Federal Trade Commission has laws against falsely claiming that products are green. This includes everything from the packaging they’re made with to the compounds and ingredients in the product.

The terminology you use on the packaging and advertising materials for goods must meet the FTC’s guidelines. Failing to do this can lead to legal claims against your company. It can also lead to warnings and fines from the government.

Specific terminology is used

The claims you make about your product can deal with how it’s made, how consumers dispose of it and what goes into it. Some examples of green claims include:

  • Made with renewable materials
  • Made with recycled content
  • Made using renewable energy
  • Recyclable material or packaging
  • Compostable or biodegradable
  • Less waste
  • Non-toxic
  • VOC-free

Companies should research the requirements for any term they want to use on their products. If there’s any doubt about whether the requirements are fully met, it’s best to use alternative wording that won’t cause problems with the FTC. You also have to consider how various marketing phrases will be construed by consumers to ensure you aren’t providing false advertising through misleading claims.

Claims of false advertising can severely harm a business. Even if the claims are ultimately unfounded, some people may still believe that something is amiss. It’s best to ensure you can back up all the claims you make when you’re advertising your products or services. If someone makes a false advertising claim, work closely with someone familiar with defending against those claims.