Knowledge Leadership Weekly Insights

Amidst the proliferation of green communication in the marketplace and growing skepticism among consumers about the authenticity of such messages, the Federal Trade Commission recently began a series of hearings to review its environmental marketing guidelines, the “Green Guides,” last updated in 1998. On Tuesday, the FTC held its first hearing in the series, focusing on carbon offsets. 

A recent survey by the WPP Group found consumer spending on green products will hit an estimated $500 billion this year, so updating and potentially redefining what it means to be green will benefit not only conscious consumers seeking to minimize their environmental impact through their purchases, but could also be valuable to companies.  Another survey, this one by TerraChoice, examined more than 1,700 green marketing claims and found all but one of them to be “either demonstrably false or that risk misleading intended audiences.” Companies whose green messages are authenticated by credible business practices will stand out among their competitors in the sea of green ambiguity.