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It’s Not Easy Being Green: FTC Issues New Green Guides in the U.S.

December 4, 2012

In October 2012, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission released new Green Guides. The new Green Guides modify and clarify sections of the previous guides, including for degradable, compostable, ozone, recyclable, recycled content, and source reduction claims. They also provide new guidance on environmental claims that were not common when the first guides were issued, including certifications and seals of approval, carbon-offsets, and free-of, non-toxic and renewable energy and material claims.

The Canadian Green Guides (more formally called “Environmental Claims: A Guide for Industry and Advertisers”) have been in force since June 2008. Since the U.S. Green Guides address a number of claims not specifically addressed in the Canadian guides, a regulator may take cues from the U.S. guides when enforcing claims in Canada.

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Catherine Lovrics, B.A, LL.B., is an associate lawyer in Bereskin & Parr LLP's New Media/Copyright practice group.

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