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climate change and the environmental features

advertising sustainability guidelines generally pertain to environmental impacts. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued guidelines for environmental marketing claims, known as “green guides,” to comply with the relevant act prohibiting unfair and deceptive advertising (USFTC, 1998). The guides outline general principles for all environmental marketing claims and specifically those pertaining to degradability, compostability, recyclability, recycled content and ozone safety. Enforcement action can be taken by the FTC if a business makes claims inconsistent with the guides. The FTC plans to review the guidelines to see if guidance on making sustainability claims should be included. In Australia, the Trade Practices Act 1974 (TPA) prohibits, among other things, misleading and deceptive conduct and misrepresentations, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published guidance on what this means for environmental advertising claims. The ACCC can take legal or other action if corporations engage in conduct in breach of the TPA. In 2000, the European Commission issued unofficial “Guidelines for Making and Assessing Environmental Claims,” which set out requirements and specifications for self-declared ecological dimensions. Examples of legal action taken against misleading advertising in the environmental area include suits filed by Belgium against Procter and Gamble, which advertised phosphate-free detergent found to be polluting; by Denmark against gardening products advertised as “environmentallygreen” because they had not been subject to life-cycle analysis; and by Belgium, Finland and Sweden against General Motors to discontinue claims of “for a cleaner environment” in marketing cars. With encouragement from governments, the advertising industry is starting to self-regulate with regard to sustainability claims. The French advertising standards bureau (BVP) has issued recommendations on how the concept of sustainable development should be used in advertisements and that it should not be used indiscriminately to promote products or brands. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has issued an international code of environmental advertising to prevent misleading claims with regard to the ecological aspects of production, packaging, distribution, consumption or disposal of goods and services. The European Brands Association (AIM) is promoting truth in advertising with regard to the environmental, social and ethical aspects of consumer goods.