[April 24, 2023 - Washington, DC] On Monday, April 24, 2023, The Environmental Markets Association submitted comments to The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) regarding RIN 3084—AB15 Regulatory review, request for public comment: Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (“Green Guides”).
Below is a brief summary of the submitted comments. The full comments can be viewed here.
Dear FTC Commissioners:
The Environmental Markets Association (“EMA”) appreciates this opportunity to provide input on the Green Guides related to the importance of maintaining integrity behind environmental attribute claims. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of our founding, the EMA is an industry trade association focused on promoting market-based solutions that utilize environmental instruments to solve environmental challenges. The EMA represents a diverse membership including large energy companies, renewable energy and carbon offset project developers, and environmental commodity market participants. EMA’s mission is to foster open, competitive, and tradable markets that deliver sustainable economic development in a cost-effective manner. In many ways, EMA’s recommended principles for market-based solutions, such as the importance of market oversight, closely align with the intent of FTC’s Green Guides. Whether it be in voluntary or compliance-driven environmental markets, it is essential to market stability and investor confidence that environmental marketing claims are not deceptive or fraudulent and do not undermine public trust. While our comments generally pertain to § 260.5 Carbon Offsets and § 260.15 Renewable energy claims, questions 1, 2, 9, 13, 17, 18, and 19 in Part A. General Issues and question 1 in Part B. Specific Claims are also addressed.
The 2012 version of the Green Guides was an important step forward in the evolution of the carbon offset and renewable energy certificate (“REC”) markets. By providing guidance to sellers and purchasers on how to avoid misleading environmental marketing claims in relation to the sale, procurement, and retirement of these environmental credits, a straightforward framework was set that resulted in increased market confidence. This helped cultivate broader market participation on both the buy- side and sell-side, which has had a real-world positive economic development impact by supporting deployment of emission reduction and renewable energy projects through the creation of larger capital markets that finance sustainable infrastructure assets. Accordingly, the EMA strongly supports the continued use of the Green Guides and specifically, their support of market-based accounting when making environmental attribute claims. EMA suggests that only minor modifications are necessary to improve their effectiveness and decision usefulness. EMA further believes that it is not necessary to establish a rule-making that creates independently enforceable requirements as this would place the FTC in the inappropriate role of setting environmental policy.