Commentary on the FTC’s Green Marketing Guidelines: Exceeding and Defining Industry Standards

December 1, 2010

John Friedman, co-Founder-  Sustainable Business Network of Washington (SBNOW)
Nikos Avlonas, President-  Centre for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) – North America

Green Marketing is the marketing of products that are presumed to be environmentally safe or friendly. Thus green marketing must take into consideration a broad range of activities, including product modification, changes to the production process, packaging changes, as well as modifying advertising according to American Marketing Association.
Consumers worldwide are increasingly admitting that their behavior has changed in the last few years to benefit the environment mainly from their purchasing decisions. Therefore, stakeholders’ purchasing decisions for products worldwide are been affected by green marketing messages. However, organizations should not get too comfortable with this trend in purchasing habits.

Statistically, a consumer will spend on average 45 sec reading a product label before making a buy-not buy decision! They are not passive buyers, but rather information seekers and eager to align organizational claims on products with their expectations, knowledge, and perceptions of value for money. Their buying decisions extend beyond their encounters with green products to include access to information regarding environmental claims of the product from trustworthy sources apart from it producer in a timely manner. The breakdown of traditional media channels to all-inclusive, rapid, real-time, divergent commentaries and news releases also plays a key role in forming opinions on the credibility of these claims.
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