U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Feb 08, 2023

§ 260.1 - Purpose, scope, and structure of the guides.

(a) These guides set forth the Federal Trade Commission's current views about environmental claims. The guides help marketers avoid making environmental marketing claims that are unfair or deceptive under Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 45. They do not confer any rights on any person and do not operate to bind the FTC or the public. The Commission, however, can take action under the FTC Act if a marketer makes an environmental claim inconsistent with the guides. In any such enforcement action, the Commission must prove that the challenged act or practice is unfair or deceptive in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.

(b) These guides do not preempt federal, state, or local laws. Compliance with those laws, however, will not necessarily preclude Commission law enforcement action under the FTC Act.

(c) These guides apply to claims about the environmental attributes of a product, package, or service in connection with the marketing, offering for sale, or sale of such item or service to individuals. These guides also apply to business-to-business transactions. The guides apply to environmental claims in labeling, advertising, promotional materials, and all other forms of marketing in any medium, whether asserted directly or by implication, through words, symbols, logos, depictions, product brand names, or any other means.

(d) The guides consist of general principles, specific guidance on the use of particular environmental claims, and examples. Claims may raise issues that are addressed by more than one example and in more than one section of the guides. The examples provide the Commission's views on how reasonable consumers likely interpret certain claims. The guides are based on marketing to a general audience. However, when a marketer targets a particular segment of consumers, the Commission will examine how reasonable members of that group interpret the advertisement. Whether a particular claim is deceptive will depend on the net impression of the advertisement, label, or other promotional material at issue. In addition, although many examples present specific claims and options for qualifying claims, the examples do not illustrate all permissible claims or qualifications under Section 5 of the FTC Act. Nor do they illustrate the only ways to comply with the guides. Marketers can use an alternative approach if the approach satisfies the requirements of Section 5 of the FTC Act. All examples assume that the described claims otherwise comply with Section 5. Where particularly useful, the Guides incorporate a reminder to this effect.