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From Home Furnishing Business

FTC Attorney to Discuss Green Claims in Las Vegas

An attorney from the Federal Trade Commission will discuss enforcement of FTC's "Green Guides" for manufacturers making eco-friendly claims during a presentation sponsored by the Specialty Sleep Association at the upcoming Las Vegas Furniture Market.

James Kohm, associate director for the Enforcement Division of FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection--who oversees enforcement of all consumer protection orders--will address enforcement of the FTC “Green Guides” for manufacturers and retailers making “green" claims, and educate furniture and mattress/bedding manufacturers on how to comply with, and make green claims according to the FTC “Green Guides.”

Kohm's presentation is set for Monday, Jan. 27, 4:30-6:00 p.m., in Room C-174 of World Market Center Las Vegas' Building C.
Last July, the FTC took action against mattress and bedding manufactures Relief-Mart, Essentia Natural Memory Foam Co. and Ecobaby Organics for advertising mattresses as free from volatile organic compounds(VOC) without scientific evidence to back up their claims. In addition to challenging the companies’ VOC-free claims, the FTC charged that two of the companies made unsupported claims that their mattresses were chemical-free and lacked odor. The FTC also challenged one company’s claim that its mattresses are made from 100 percent natural materials, and another company’s claim that its mattresses were certified by an organic mattress organization.

In settling the FTC’s charges, the companies agreed not to make similar claims in the future, unless they have competent and reliable scientific evidence to prove they are true. In addition, one company is barred from making misrepresentations about certifications.

SSA President Dale Read said the association is sponsoring the Las Vegas FTC presentation as a public service to the entire home furnishings and mattress/bedding industry.

"The requirement to substantiate back-up information and provide evidence for ‘green claims’ applies to the entire furniture and home furnishings industry," Read said. "If you are a manufacturer or a retailer, and you are making either a specific green claim, or even a generalized green claim, you must substantiate your claim with specific statements, with competent and scientific evidence such as testing and/or with valid, third-party certifications. You cannot just make up these claims because they make good marketing; you cannot create your own certifications and seals. You have to have credible evidence and substantiation behind your green claims. We encourage any manufacturer marketing furniture or bedding products with a green claim to attend this educational/legal seminar being put on by the Enforcement Division of the Federal Trade Commission.”

This blog from FTC's Web site specifically addresses green claims for mattress manufacturers.

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