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NAHB filed comments on Dec. 10 in response to the proposed revisions to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (“Green Guides”). The “Green Guides” indicate how the FTC will apply Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices, to environmental marketing claims.
The proposed revisions aim to respond to changes in the marketplace, including emerging green marketing issues. The FTC put out the proposed changes to the “Green Guides” on Oct. 6.
“NAHB endorses the concept that there is a potential for consumer confusion about environmental claims and that guidance from the FTC can benefit both businesses and consumers alike,” NAHB’s comment letter states. “NAHB also wholeheartedly supports the FTC’s efforts through the ‘Green Guides’ to help marketers avoid making unfair or deceptive environmental marketing claims.”
While NAHB is generally supportive of the proposed revisions to the “Green Guides,” it believes they would benefit from further clarification on whether builders can meet their obligation to qualify environmental benefit claims by referring in their promotional materials to a secondary source ― such as a website or home owner manual ― for additional supporting information.
Additionally, the “Green Guides” section on certifications and seals of approval would benefit from further guidance concerning whether disclosure of a “material connection” between the certifier and the marketer is required in instances where the certifier is an independent third party for certification purposes, but affiliated with an association or other organization where the marketer is a dues-paying member.
More information on legal issues in green marketing will be presented at an educational session during the NAHB International Builders’ Show, entitled “Legal Compliance for Green Marketing,” 10:00-11:30 a.m., Friday, Jan. 14, in Room West 303. The session will include updates on green marketing from NAHB attorneys and a representative of the FTC.
For more information, e-mail Blake Smith at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8583.