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FTC to review green marketing guidelines The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will review its green marketing guidelines beginning in July and expects to issue changes early in 1996.

The guidelines, issued in 1992, outline acceptable environmental marketing claims on packaging. According to FTC Commissioner Roscoe Starek, "the guidelines have been working remarkably well with no unforeseen consequences. I do not anticipate major changes. A flexible approach backed by enforcement actions appears to be working." Speaking at the Grocery Manufacturers of America/Food Marketing Institute 1995 Environ-mental Affairs Confer-ence in late April, Starek said compliance by manufacturers has been generally good. Ten consent orders were issued in 1994, most for improper recycling claims. A Utah study found that more and better green marketing claims are being made, and they are being given a prominent place on packaging. FTC's review will focus on three areas, said Starek: how the guidelines have affected green marketing, the state of consumer understanding of green marketing claims, and whether the guidelines should be expanded by adding more terms and disclosures or improving definitions. The agency will decide if the Society of the Plastics Industry resin code and its chasing arrows logo constitutes an environmental claim. Noting surveys that show consumers focus on the recycling aspects of packaging rather than reducing the amount, Starek said there is considerable room for consumer education.

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