Red light for green claims?
October 15, 2009 | 7:00 pm CDT

The green movement didn't start in the past year, but 2007 may be the year that green became an essential part of every company's marketing mix. Public relations is defined as doing a good job and telling about it. Green marketing is doing a good job, and making everyone feel good.

Watch those green claims

The Federal Trade Commission announced in late November a regulatory review of its environmental marketing guidelines, also known as the Green Guides. These guides provide basic principles for environmental marketing claims. They also describe specifics about certain claims, such as recyclability, degradability, compostability and ozone safety.

The FTC is requesting comments about the guides, something they had intended to do in 2009 but have decided to fast track because of the ballooning green advertising claims.

In addition, FTC will hold a series of meetings on green marketing subjects. The first will be in Washington, D.C., on January 8, 2008 and will address the marketing of carbon offsets and renewable energy certificates. If you're interested in participating in this meeting, call Hampton Newsome at 202.326.2889, or go to for more information.

Separately, I found that the FTC's interest in this area isn't new. In fact, they were exploring deceptive and misleading claims as early as 1991.

Does imported wood cause global warming?

As a matter of fact, yes. They're cutting down trees in Indonesia, sending logs to China, which in turn is shipping them to North America as junior's new bedroom set. And all this while California is making panel producers and manufacturers squeeze out the last zillionth of formaldehyde from their products.

Exporting demand

An executive of a U.S.-based panel company I spoke with at AWFS said that we were "exporting demand" from a highly regulated and environmentally compliant U.S. wood industry to unregulated and environmentally unfriendly sources.

And has anyone seen any advertisements for recruitment for the new army of inspectors that will be required to check all of the thousands of containers that come into California every day? Will they be equipped with portable formaldehyde meters or some other gadget?

Doing our part

We don't own any forests in Borneo but we are also involved in recycling and other environmental activities. In fact, we offer a digital magazine as an alternative to the printed magazine for those who qualify and request it. Go to for more details, click on "Publications" on the Top menu, and then "Digital edition" on the drop down menu for more information.

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About the author
Karl Forth

Karl D. Forth is online editor for CCI Media. He also writes news and feature stories in FDMC Magazine, in addition to newsletters and custom publishing projects. He is also involved in event organization, and compiles the annual FDM 300 list of industry leaders. He can be reached at [email protected].