How to Avoid Litigation when Creating Green Products
Conserves natural resources, reduces harm to the environment, made with ‘green’ materials, saves energy or water. These are just four of the many descriptors of green products. The somewhat broad interpretation of ‘green’ in product descriptions and, therefore, to the purchaser of that product lead to a legal mess should someone at sometime decide that your product is really not as green as you claim. However, there are ways to avoid being a target in a green shooting gallery.
When a manufacturer ‘greens' a product, they are making certain claims about that product. “Environmentally friendly” or “good for the environment” are two very common phrases that are also potentially problematic for a manufacturer because they do not specify exactly why the product can live up to these claims.
Greening a product wisely means trying to establish green credentials for a product that have a prayer of being proven should there be a lawsuit.
Some organizations such as Green Seal, EcoLogo, and GreenGuard certify products within particular parameters. The certification indicates that the product has been tested and meets required criteria. The FTC Green Guides are intended to require advertisers to be accurate about whatever green claims they are making.
If it all sounds somewhat undefined – it is. However, that shouldn’t stop a manufacturer from ‘going green’. Remember that lawsuits based on green claims are product liability claims in new clothing. When 'greening' a product, make sure you are able to defend it as you would for any product liability claim.