The big news, of course, is that on October 1, 2012, the
Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") finally released its
final revisedGuides for the Use of
Environmental Marketing Claims("US
Guide"). The revisions went into effect on October 11,
That wasn't all though. The granddaddy of international
green guidelines, ISO 140211, was also updated on
December 15, which may affect the countries that look to those
guidelines for their rules. Canada is one of them, as the
Competition Bureau's guide, Environmental Claims: A Guide
for Industry and Advertisers ("Canada's
Guide") is based on ISO 14021. Further steps would
need to occur before our guidelines reflected the ISO 14021
amendments. The 2010 Green Claims Guidance of the UK
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
("UK Guide") also draws on ISO 14021. It
already contemplated and referenced the ISO 10421 amendments.
Brazil has extensively revised its green provisions as well.
They went into effect in August 2011. New Zealand's
self-regulator issued a revised Code for Environmental
Claims, coming into force January 2013.
The final guideline news we'll mention is Australia's
new Carbon Price Claims: Guide for Business. This
was introduced on November 15, 2011 (and updated in May 2012) in
light of the carbon-pricing regime that went into effect in
Australia on July 1, 2012. What's a carbon-pricing regime? It
requires some large businesses to buy carbon credits to offset
their emissions. That means their costs will go up and some
consumer prices will also go up as the costs are passed down the
chain. Having a vivid imagination, Australia's false
advertising regulator thought some companies might want to raise
their prices and (falsely) blame the full hikes on the carbon
price. Or perhaps scare consumers into thinking that electricity
prices were going to go sky high so they should waste no time in
buying low-carbon energy alternatives like solar panels. The Guide
was brought in to head them off at the pass.
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