One of the luxuries of being an American consumer is that we have many choices. Should I choose a 4-door sedan or an SUV, a wool sweater or a cotton sweater, organic food or non-organic food? Information displayed on products and in advertising can affect the decisions we make as consumers. Many consumers trust that the information provided on the labels of products they purchase is correct, but how can we know for sure?
The FTC recently mailed letters to five certifiers and 32 businesses warning them that the certification seals displayed on their products that claim the products are “green” or “eco-friendly” did not provide consumers with enough information and do not meet the FTC’s environmental marketing guidelines. We, as consumers, deserve to know what we are buying. We deserve to be provided with correct and thorough information on product labels.
The main concern is that the companies mentioned above are displaying “green” certification seals without providing information about how the product is “green” or “eco-friendly.” These graphics and seals are easy to obtain. I quickly found the logo above by using a popular search engine. According to the online press release on the FTC website, Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, explained, “…if the seals’ claims are broader than the products’ benefits, they can deceive people…”
The FTC publishes “Green Guides” that help to explain how to better communicate a product’s “green” attributes. Click on the link below for more information and to see a comparative example between a good seal display and a bad seal display.