CRS Supports the FTC’s Update to the Green Guides



Center for Resource Solutions applauds Federal Trade Commission for proposing updated guidance on environmental claims

Jeff Swenerton
CRS Communications Director

SAN FRANCISCO (October 6, 2010) — Today the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released proposed revisions to its Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (“Green Guides“), which help marketers avoid making deceptive claims by outlining general principles and providing specific guidance about how consumers are likely to interpret particular claims, and how marketers can avoid misleading consumers. This latest update will be the first in over a decade, and puts a new emphasis on renewable energy and carbon offset claims.
The Green Guides were originally released in 1992, and were updated in 1996 and again in 1998. They provide necessary guidance for environmental claims that have been employed by businesses to portray their products as eco-friendly or environmentally sustainable.

Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) applauds the FTC for providing clarifying guidance to marketers who wish to accurately portray their environmental qualifications, and to consumers, who navigate the sea of environmental logos and questionable marketing claims and trust that the eco-labels they see on products and marketing materials are accurate. As consumers continue to consider the environmental scorecard of the products they buy, this long-awaited update to the guides mandates transparency in marketing, and will help consumers make decisions based on verifiable information.

CRS has been setting standards for consumer protection for over a decade. Through its Green-e programs, CRS continues to provides credibility for marketers’ and consumers’ claims about renewable energy and carbon offset use. These independent certification programs promote consumer confidence by verifying renewable energy and offset sales, and marketing claims.

“As we have learned over the last decade in administering Green-e, one of the most established and respected environmental certification programs in the country, consumers have cause to be wary of green logos and environmental claims that haven’t been substantiated by an independent third party,” said CRS Executive Director Arthur O’Donnell. “This update to the Green Guides will help reduce ‘greenwashing’ by requiring companies to back up their carbon reduction and clean energy claims.”

In January 2008, CRS submitted comments on the FTC workshop on carbon offsets and renewable energy certificates reiterating that consumers understand that purchasing these environmental commodities contributes to building the market for new clean energy facilities, but rely on reputable certification programs like Green-e to help them determine which claims are legitimate. Consumers understand that eco-labels are more than logos, they must have robust standards and verification bodies behind them—and since 1998 Green-e Energy has provided this service to the voluntary renewable energy market. With this update to the Green Guides, CRS looks forward to continuing its work in increasing consumer confidence in the renewable energy market by ensuring that products that bear the Green-e Certified marks are exactly as advertised.

CRS will be submitting additional comments to the FTC on these proposed revisions to the Green Guides based on our extensive experience in the renewable energy and carbon offset markets. The comment period closes on December 10, 2010, after which the agency will review all comments and prepare a final version of the Guides, expected for release in the first half of 2011. For more information, see


About Center for Resource Solutions
Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) is a national nonprofit with global impact. CRS brings forth expert responses to climate change issues with the speed and effectiveness necessary to provide real-time solutions. Its leadership through collaboration and environmental innovation builds policies and consumer-protection mechanisms in renewable energy, greenhouse gas reductions, and energy efficiency that foster healthy and sustained growth in national and international markets. For more information about its programs, including Green-e, visit and




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