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FTC Cracks Down On Greenwashing Claims
Volume 635
August 13, 2009
 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has charged four non-industry apparel manufacturers with deceptively marketing their products as eco-friendly when the companies' production processes were, in fact, harmful to the environment. "With the tremendous expansion of green claims in today's marketplace, it is particularly important for the FTC to address deceptive environmental claims," said David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

The accused companies, which use the business names of Jonäno, Mad Mod, Pure Bamboo and Bamboosa, have claimed some of their clothing products are made from bamboo fiber. Instead, the FTC says those clothes are actually made of rayon, a man-made fiber created from the cellulose found in plants and trees and processed with a harsh chemical. With its latest action, the FTC is pledging to more tightly scrutinize greenwashing, a term used to describe unsubstantiated environmental claims about products. "When companies sell products woven from man-made fibers, such as rayon," Vladeck says, "it is important that they accurately label and advertise those products."

While Jonäno, Mad Mod and Pure Bamboo have agreed to settlements, the FTC is continuing litigation against Bamboosa, also known as The M Group. None of the accused companies have acknowledged wrongdoing, but the settling manufacturers have agreed to end their eco-friendly claims.

To support fair advertising among manufacturers, the FTC has produced a new publication designed to help businesses properly sell clothing and textile products that are made from bamboo. For more information and for FTC compliance rules, go to: www.ftc.gov.

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