Rise in ‘Sustainability Claims’ Spark Letter for Reform to FTC

Fashion’s push to get the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides updated is underway.

Sustainable denim brand Amendi, and PoliticallyInFashion, an initiative started by fashion lawyer Hilary Jochmans to engage fashion in sustainable policy, are spearheading a call to revamp the decades-old regulation for modern times.

The Green Guides were last updated nine years ago (first adopted in 1992) and were initially designed to assist businesses in making lawful environmental marketing claims while helping the public navigate these claims.

The FTC decided against guidelines on “sustainability” or “organic” in the Guides to avoid overlap with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program’s organic food guides.

More than 30 brands, journalists, NGO’s and sustainable fashion leaders have signed on to The Green Guides Letter advocating for expanded guidelines around sustainable marketing. Sent on behalf of the PoliticallyInFashion coalition, the letter is directed to the FTC commissioners urging for review and updates to the Guides saying: “In the past nine years, there has been an exponential growth in sustainability claims by businesses. But, without guardrails on this term, or data to substantiate these claims, there is risk the term becomes meaningless, or even detrimental to efforts to promote healthy environmental practices.”

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The efforts to reform the Green Guides officially kicked off last November. The latest rally is expected to follow a similar trajectory as previous efforts, with the letter being sent out this week. Signatories include organizations such as Sustainable Brooklyn, Wearable Collections, The OR Foundation, New York University Stern School of Business Social Impact and Sustainability Association, among many others.

This is not the first time efforts have culminated in a signed letter to decision-makers, calling for comprehensive action.

In February, journalist Elizabeth Segran sparked a wave in a letter of request to President Biden to appoint a “fashion czar,” which drew the support of Allbirds, Mara Hoffman and ThredUp, among others.

“We hope to show other brands like ours, with sincere social impact and sustainability missions, that The Green Guides can be crucial to leveling the playing field. Otherwise, the companies with the biggest wallets will continue to dominate the narrative and will have no incentive to truly change,” said Corey Page Spencer, Amendi’s cofounder.

For More, See:

Allbirds, ThredUp, More Ask Biden to Appoint ‘Fashion Czar’

These Brand-Activists, Nonprofits Are Tackling Fashion Policy Head-on

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