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FTC going after greenwashing

Green companies just can't catch a break these days. Nor should they really. According to the Federal Trade Commission, rampant greenwashing is infiltrating our industry with false claims and deceptive advertising.

Last month, Rite Aid settled with the FTC over false advertising for their Germ Defense tablets which claimed to prevent colds and the flu. Last year, Airborne did the same. And yesterday, several bamboo companies joined them and agreed to stop claiming false environmental benefits.

Companies Sami Designs (aka Jonano), Mad Mod, and Pure Bamboo have been accused of falsely claiming their rayon clothing and other textile products are "100% bamboo fiber." According to the FTC, rayon's source could actually be bamboo but through the harsh chemical process that makes the fibers, the environmental benefit is lost.

“With the tremendous expansion of green claims in today’s marketplace, it is particularly important for the FTC to address deceptive environmental claims, so that consumers can trust that the products they buy have the environmentally friendly attributes they want,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “When companies sell products woven from man-made fibers, such as rayon, it is important that they accurately label and advertise those products – both with respect to the fibers they use and to the qualities those fibers possess.”

Retailers in the natural products industry know that there could be money made from green claims, but falsely advertising these benefits can only mean losses in the end.

Jonano, Mad Mod, and Pure Bamboo are agreeing to settlement terms of changing their advertising products to reflect the new clear language requirements.

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