Green Isn’t Just a Color: Navigating the Green Marketing Legal Landscape

Brianna Scherffius Moderator
Irvine, CA 
United States of America
Irene Hantman Presenter
Verdant Law
Washington, DC 
United States of America
Christy Rose, MS Co-Presenter
United States of America
Phil Moffat Co-Presenter
Verdant Law
Washington, DC 
Tue, 9/10: 10:00 AM  - 11:00 AM 
Standard Session 
Greater Columbus Convention Center 
Room: A 216 


Environmental certification seals and claims like "biodegradable" and "zero VOCs" make for great marketing, but are they defensible? The public's growing environmental consciousness and its demand for "green" products is changing the marketing landscape. Product stewards need to exercise caution to ensure that their "green marketing" complies with the various laws, regulations, guidance, and voluntary standards in the United States.

For example, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)'s Green Guides govern national environmental marketing claims. They identify how consumers are likely to interpret claims, stipulate how marketers can substantiate claims, and make recommendations for how marketers can qualify their claims to avoid deceiving consumers. The FTC aggressively enforces the Green Guides. In 2015, the FTC sent warning letters to 5 providers of environmental certification seals and 28 businesses using those seals, alerting them that the seals may be deceptive and may not comply with the FTC's Green Guides.

We will provide an overview of the Green Guides, a report on FTC enforcement action and other green marketing litigation, and a discussion of technical considerations when substantiating green claims.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this session, attendees will:

1. Summarize some of the most important challenges faced by product stewards with respect to product marketing
2. Identify green marketing claims and the steps necessary to substantiate these claims
3. Recognize the challenges of effectively managing FTC regulatory compliance 

Learning/Experience Level



Emerging Product Stewardship Issues