Canada Bans “Green” and “Eco-Friendly” from Product Labels

Sustainable_life_media_logoCanada’s Competition Bureau is responding to some environmental or green labels vagueness by creating a new set of guidelines for companies.  Advertisers are being requested to use "clear, specific, and accurate" claims.

Posted June 28, 2008
Sustainable Life Media

Canada’s Competition Bureau is requiring companies to get more
specific with their green-product advertising, banning the use of
"vague claims implying general environmental improvement."

The bureau has released a new set of guidelines, developed with
help from the Canadian Standards Association, that asks companies
advertising in Canada to stick to "clear, specific, and accurate"
claims that have been substantiated and verified prior to use.

"Businesses should not make environmental claims unless they can
back them up," says Sheridan Scott, Commissioner of Competition. "In
the end, this will benefit legitimate businesses and consumers by
bringing greater accuracy in advertising to the marketplace."

The bureau has kicked off a yearlong transition phase during which
it will work to raise awareness and understanding of the new guidelines.

"During this one-year transition period, the bureau will not
hesitate to pursue egregious cases of deceptive environmental claims,"
it said in a statement.

The U.S. and the U.K. are also struggling to regulate green
marketing claims more effectively. In the U.S., the Federal Trade
Commission has been conducting a series of public hearings on the issue
in preparation for revising its environmental marketing guidelines.
Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority has taken a more piecemeal
approach, most recently reviewing green claims made the the U.S. cotton industry.

Download Canada’s Environmental Claims: A Guide for Industry and Advertisers here (PDF). Find a backgrounder on the new guidelines here.

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