FTC Cracks Down on Green Claims

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently updated its Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims. The “Green Guide” outlines the guidelines and requirements for companies and marketers making claims about their products’ environmental benefits.

This update by the FTC is an attempt to rein in the rampant “green washing” that is all too pervasive in the building materials industry and many others. As the interest in green building continues to increase so do the vague and questionable green claims by companies seeking to profit on this growing phenomenon. Green is generating a lot of green and the potential for growth in green building continues to show promise as the debate over climate change and other environmental planetary concerns mount.

Cellulose insulation has been the gold standard for green building for many years.  It’s easy to meet the FTC rules, and make the claim for being green and environmentally friendly, with a product that is 82% recycled waste paper with a majority of it post consumer waste newsprint.  The fact is, cellulose insulation diverts paper from landfills converting it into a highly efficient insulation material that saves energy, reduces green house gasses and sequesters carbon in the walls of buildings and homes for years and years.  On top of that, it requires a fraction of the embodied energy required to produce other leading types of insulation like fiberglass and foam.

Everyone should applaud the FTC’s efforts to keep green claims in product marketing truthful and accurate. Protecting the integrity of green product marketing is critical to ensuring confidence as consumers try to make purchase decision that embrace the benefits of true green products like cellulose insulation. Every bogus claim risks the possibility of diminishing that interest and desire. When people seek out green products in an attempt to make a difference for the environment it’s important that the information provided for such products is straight forward and easy to understand. The updated guidelines require just that.

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