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December 15, 2010

PRSA Submits Comments to FTC on Environmental Marketing Guidelines

PRSA has filed formal comments with the Federal Trade Commission regarding the Commission's  proposed revisions to its “Green Guides” for environmental marketing.
 
PRSA shares the view of the FTC that the public is best served by a limit in “blanket” or general claims of “environmental friendliness,” an industry-wide end to the use of spurious or misleading certifications or seals of approval and full disclosure of verifiable claims regarding a product or service’s environmental benefits (and limitations). Therefore, PRSA supports the Commission’s efforts to revise its environmental marketing guidelines (which were last updated in 1998), in line with current best practices and modern marketing, communications, public relations and advertising strategies, tactics, communications and messaging within the environmental marketing sector.
 
PRSA’s Code of Ethics calls for professionals who develop communications and messaging on behalf of clients or their employers to protect and advance the free flow of accurate and truthful information and to foster informed decision making through open communication. PRSA applauds the FTC’s efforts, via its proposed revisions, to establish more clear, concise and comprehensive guidelines for environmental marketing claims, thereby fostering the most legitimate and substantiated marketing claims concerning “green” products. 
 
Below are additional points of focus addressed by PRSA in its formal commentary to the FTC, which is available for download.  
  • PRSA shares the view of the FTC that the public is best served by a limit in “blanket” or general claims of “environmental friendliness,” an industry-wide end to the use of spurious or misleading certifications or seals of approval and full disclosure of verifiable claims regarding a product or service’s environmental benefits (and limitations).
  • Further guidance is needed regarding the applicability of the FTC’s guidelines to the use and practice of broader public relations and marketing communications activities.
  • Marketers have an obligation and responsibility to the public — and to their clients and employers — to ensure they provide the most truthful and accurate information, regardless of the medium or presentation materials used.
  • Specificity and transparency should be prevalent in all marketing communications and materials.
  • PRSA encourages the FTC to provide an additional level of specificity and clarity within certain proposed revisions.
  • PRSA also cautions the Commission to thoroughly consider the potential long-term ramifications of continuing to allow for unqualified environmental marketing claims for certain product and service categories.
  • Marketers should keep in mind the public’s current state of sentiment regarding the movement toward greater transparency and honesty in advertising and marketing communications.
PRSA Commentary - FTC Green Guides
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