When Green Advertising May Leave You Black and Blue

Today, many products that target household consumers tout some sort of environmental benefit—that a product is recyclable, biodegradable, or that it has a seal of approval from a third-party organization. These products often command a premium in the market. To win over consumers seeking these “green” products, marketing tactics are becoming more and more creative. On occasion, however, a company may go too far and engage in “greenwashing,” the practice of making a product seem environmentally friendly when, in reality, it is not. Deceptive and unsubstantiated “green” advertising may not only invite an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), but as the discussion of two cases below demonstrates, it could also lead to a civil lawsuit and, potentially, monetary liability.

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