FTC Green Guides Comments
Comments for the first round of FTC Green Guides submissions are now closed. Please be on the lookout for updates from JVC on the next round of submissions and reviews.
The FTC has opened for public comments on the topic of environmental marketing for their review of the Green Guides. JVC’s form below requests feedback from the jewelry and watch industries for inclusion in a submission to the FTC. In addition, any individual or company may comment separately to emphasize a particular viewpoint. JVC will be particularly focused on recycled claims and advocating for a clear definition of sustainability.
The Federal Trade Commission’s “Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims” (the “Green Guides”) were first issued in 1992 and were last updated in October of 2012. The Green Guides cover a wide range of industries and are intended to help marketers and advertisers avoid making environmental claims that could mislead consumers.
For the jewelry industry, the FTC’S 2023 review of the Green Guides is particularly important, as consumers continue to show an increasing desire to purchase products they view as “good for the environment.” In light of this sentiment, members of the industry struggle with how to appropriately market items such as diamonds (whether natural or laboratory-grown), gemstones and precious metals without causing consumer confusion. Unfortunately, the current version of the Guides lacks clarity in several key areas.
For example, in the current version of the Green Guides, the FTC intentionally chose not to address the following terms:
Other terms important to the jewelry industry are also undefined, such as:
Finally, the definitions of some terms are confusing and not always appropriate for the needs of jewelry industry members. For example, per the current Guides:
• “Recycled” claims should only be made, “. . . for materials that were recovered or otherwise diverted from the waste stream, either during the manufacturing process (pre-consumer) or after consumer use (post-consumer).”
See a full summary of the current Green Guides here.
Members of the industry need the FTC’s clarification on all of these issues, and guidance on how these terms and others may be used when marketing jewelry and watch products.
It is vital that the specific needs and concerns of the jewelry industry are heard and addressed, during this review process. At JVC, we urge you to send us your comments, questions, and concerns through our portal, at JVC Green Guides Comments or please feel free to reach out to us at GreenGuides@jvclegal.org to speak directly with one of our attorneys.
Previous requests for feedback included:
PLEASE SHARE ANY EVIDENCE CONCERNING CONSUMER PERCEPTION OF ENVIRONMENTAL CLAIMS, INCLUDING CLAIMS NOT CURRENTLY COVERED BY THE GUIDES. DOES THIS NEW INFORMATION INDICATE THE GUIDES SHOULD BE MODIFIED? (FTC Q. A7)
PLEASE SHARE ANY EVIDENCE OF INCREASED CONSUMER INTEREST IN PARTICULAR ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES. DOES THIS NEW INFORMATION INDICATE THE GUIDES SHOULD BE MODIFIED? (FTC Q. A8)
PLEASE SHARE ANY EVIDENCE OF POTENTIALLY UNFAIR OR DECEPTIVE ENVIRONMENTAL MARKETING CLAIMS NOT COVERED BY THE GUIDES. (FTC Q. A15)
SHOULD THE COMMISSION REVISE THE CURRENT DEFINITION OF “RECYCLED CONTENT”? THE GUIDES STATE MARKETERS MAY MAKE “RECYCLED CONTENT” CLAIMS ONLY FOR MATERIALS RECOVERED OR OTHERWISE DIVERTED FROM THE SOLID WASTE STREAM, EITHER DURING THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS OR AFTER CONSUMER USE. DO THE CURRENT GUIDES PROVIDE SUFFICIENT GUIDANCE FOR “RECYCLED CONTENT” CLAIMS? IF SO, WHY? IF NOT, WHY NOT, AND WHAT GUIDANCE SHOULD BE PROVIDED? WHAT EVIDENCE SUPPORTS YOUR PROPOSED REVISION(S)? (FTC Q. B7)
IN 2012, THE COMMISSION DECLINED TO ISSUE GUIDANCE ON “ORGANIC” CLAIMS FOR NON-AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS. SHOULD THE COMMISSION REVISIT THIS DETERMINATION? IF SO, WHY, AND WHAT GUIDANCE SHOULD BE PROVIDED? WHAT EVIDENCE SUPPORTS MAKING YOUR PROPOSED REVISION(S)? WHAT EVIDENCE IS AVAILABLE CONCERNING CONSUMER UNDERSTANDING OF THE TERM “ORGANIC” WITH RESPECT TO NON-AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS? (FTC Q. B11)
IN 2012, THE COMMISSION DETERMINED IT LACKED A BASIS TO GIVE SPECIFIC GUIDANCE ON HOW CONSUMERS INTERPRET “SUSTAINABLE” CLAIMS. SHOULD THE COMMISSION REVISIT THIS DETERMINATION? IF SO, WHY, AND WHAT GUIDANCE SHOULD BE PROVIDED? WHAT EVIDENCE SUPPORTS MAKING YOUR PROPOSED REVISION(S)? WHAT EVIDENCE IS AVAILABLE CONCERNING CONSUMER UNDERSTANDING OF THE TERM SUSTAINABLE? (FTC Q. B12)
DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER SUGGESTIONS FOR TERMS THAT SHOULD BE DEFINED OR COMMENTS ON THE GREEN GUIDES/ENVIRONMENTAL MARKETING YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US?