Inside Track: Greenwash: Overselling a Product's 'Greeness':

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  • Inside Track

    Greenwash: Overselling a Product's 'Greeness'

    David J. Gilles & Matthew T. Kemp

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    July 18, 2012 – Wisconsin has specific standards for labeling recycled, recyclable, and degradable products, as well as requirements for substantiating the energy savings created by certain products. Allegations about greenwashing, which describes vague unsubstantiated or misleading environmental marketing claims, have recently appeared in cases and in the courts.

    Businesses, regulators, industry watchdogs, and consumers are all casting a more skeptical eye at green claims, and as a result, firms face potential greenwashing liability from a variety of directions. Claims can come from the Federal Trade Commission, the state attorneys’ general office, or business competitors. The FTC has published “Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims,” also known as the Green Guides, to help lawyers walk through this complicated area of the law.

    In this video, David Gilles and Matthew Kemp discuss standards and requirements, and what lawyers can do to be sure they are up-to-speed on the basic legal framework and enforcement mechanisms that apply to greenwashing claims.

    Gilles and Kemp are members of the Godfrey & Kahn S.C. environmental and energy law practice group. Read their article, “Greenwash: Overselling a Product’s ‘Greeness,’” in the June Wisconsin Lawyer magazine.