I had the opportunity to serve as a panelist last week in Target Marketing Magazine’s webinar, “Green Marketing Without Greenwashing – How to legally and ethically back up your environmental claims.” I spoke alongside an excellent group of panelists who covered a wide range of key issues around green marketing [they included Scot Case, Vice President, TerraChoice; Randi W. Singer, Litigation Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges; Rick Merdan, Marketing Strategy Manager – Environmental, NewPage Corporation].
Below please find some notes I took on Case and Singer’s remarks. Merdan served as a resource to answer questions near the end.
Scott Case, Vice President, TerraChoice
- Discussed growth of green products and claims in the marketplace
- Covered environmental claims and how the FTC is investigating and enforcing their regulations to counter questionable environmental claims
- Defined greenwashing as misleading consumers about the environmental details of a product or service
- Terrachoice has developed 7 Sins of Greenwashing
- Discussed various leading green labels (EcoLogo, Energy Star, Green Seal)
- Suggested do’s and don’ts of green marketing. His key suggestion was one I strongly agree with and advocate – “If you’re making a public claim, provide public proof”
Randi Singer, Litigation Partner with Weil, Gotshal & Menges
- First rule of advertising is that it needs to be true
- Discussed FTC’s “Green Guides”
- All claims must be specific, transparent, supported by science
- Need to avoid general environmental benefit claims
- Specific claims must be true and not deceptive (e.g. “Biodegradable” must completely break down and return to nature in reasonably short period of time; “Recyclable” must be able to be collected and reused)
- FTC has been reworking their Green Guides for several years, held 3 workshops in 2008 (1st focused on carbon offsets and RECs, 2nd focused on green packaging claims, 3rd on buildings and textiles)
- Expects new Green Guides to be released in 2010
Q&A – Excellent session – starting at around the 45-minute mark, covering some of the following topics:
- Supplier verification
- Paper choices
I hope you enjoy the webinar!