The FTC released a proposed guide on the use of environmental marketing claims in October. The Green Guide, also known as the Environmental Marketing Guides, requires substantiation when using terms such as, but not limited to, “eco-friendly”, “biodegradable”, “nontoxic”, “compostable”, “recyclable”, “made of recycled materials”, “made using renewable energy” and “carbon neutral” to describe a product. Companies currently making generalized green claims will need to revise their marketing to avoid the risk of FTC enforcement action.
Any alcohol supplier using green marketing tactics, whether on the label, on the web, or in television advertisements, should review the proposed Green Guide immediately. General claims like “eco-friendly” will no longer be permissible unless qualification of the claim is provided to the consumer “in close proximity” to the environmental claim. As applied to alcohol, that may mean a lengthy addition to your label explaining why your product is environmentally friendly. If you are currently labeling your wine as environmentally friendly because you wear hemp clothes when you bottle, donate to Surfrider at the holidays, and compost your dinner scraps, those (laudable) actions may not support environmental labeling claims.
Public comment on the Green Guide is due December 10, with a finalized Green Guide expected to issue in 2011. They are not expected to change significantly before implementation. Alcohol producers are advised to audit their marketing now and take steps to remove or revise any environmental claims.
Alcohol.law Digest is published for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Copyright © 2010 · All Rights Reserved ·
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