The FTC announced that it has issued 20 written warnings to the makers and manufactures of dog waste bags that their environmental claims may be deceptive. The FTC has said that it sent the letters “after examining the companies’ environmental, or ‘green,’ claims on their websites and in other media, provide examples of potentially deceptive statements regarding the dog waste bags’ biodegradability or compostability.” According to the FTC, the companies’ unqualified “biodegradable” and “compostability” claims may be deceptive under the FTC’s Green Guides. Jessica Rich, the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection sees it this way, “Consumers looking to buy environmentally friendly products should not have to guess whether the claims made are accurate,” and “it is therefore critical for the FTC to ensure that these claims are not misleading, to protect both consumers and honest competitors.”
Undoubtedly, more and more consumers are making purchases based upon a product’s impact on the environment. As a result, companies making environmental claims need to heed the advice of the FTC and review their marketing and advertising materials to make sure that any environmental claims are either properly qualified or explained, and/or that such claims if unqualified or not further explained comply with the FTC’s Green Guides. Otherwise, these companies may find themselves squarely in the FTC’s dog house.