On May 23, 2023, the FTC hosted a public workshop on recyclable claims called “Talking Trash at the FTC: Recyclable Claims and the Green Guides.” The FTC convened the workshop in connection with its ongoing review of the Green Guides. The workshop included three panels of stakeholders discussing a variety of issues relating to the current state of recycling claims, consumer perception of such claims, and how the FTC should consider updating its guidance.
Lindsay Brewer is an associate in the firm's Washington office. She advises clients on environmental, product safety, occupational safety, and public policy issues. She has experience with a wide range of environmental and safety programs, with a focus on the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA/Superfund), the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act), the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).
Congress, the media, and the public have given significant attention to remarks this week by a commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) indicating that the agency would be considering a federal ban on gas stoves due to their health effects. The suggestion of a ban on gas stoves has drawn comments from bipartisan policymakers in both chambers, and even the White House has weighed in against the prospect of a potential ban.
The CPSC is unlikely to ban gas stoves in the near future, although it has the authority to ban unreasonably dangerous products that cannot be made safe, and has done so with toxic substances in children’s products and other product categories in the past. A CPSC rulemaking on mandatory safety standards for gas stoves, however, is a possibility, and that process may drive the establishment of voluntary industry standards by a standards-setting body. Additionally, other federal and state regulators have recently sharpened their focus on indoor air quality and gas-powered appliances, for both health and environmental reasons. The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), for instance, is undertaking several activities related to indoor air quality. And the California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) recently adopted a plan that would effectively prohibit the sale of gas-powered space and water heaters in California by 2030.
Particularly with regard to federal regulatory activity on gas stoves and other gas-powered appliances, potentially affected parties will have ample opportunities to help shape the outcome of any mandatory or voluntary product standards put in place or accepted by the CPSC, and to engage with other regulators. This alert provides an overview of recent and emerging legislative and regulatory activity related to indoor air pollution, focusing particularly on activity by the CPSC and EPA. Companies—both those with interests in gas stoves and those concerned with indoor air quality issues more broadly—should carefully follow indoor air quality developments, including in their interactions with regulators, given the increased focus on this area.…
On December 14, 2022, during an open Commission meeting, the Federal Trade Commission voted unanimously to issue a Federal Register notice requesting comments on the efficacy of the Green Guides. The initial request for comments seeks input on whether to retain, modify, or rescind the Guides. The notice was published in late December, marking the beginning of a 60-day comment period that ends on February 21, 2023.…
This blog is the sixteenth in a series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”
The American Jobs Plan (AJP) envisions moving to 100 percent carbon pollution-free power by 2035. To do this, the Plan contemplates sweeping updates to the power sector to increase use of zero-emissions electricity and modernize the physical infrastructure to make it cleaner, more resilient, and more cost-effective for end users.
The AJP’s reimagining of the American power sector is a critical component of the President’s goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, as significant investments in electric vehicles (EV), EV charging, and electric heat pumps for both commercial and residential dwellings are intended to accelerate the nation’s progress in lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
Continue Reading Pioneering a Net Zero Emissions Future through Investments in Power
In October 2020, Covington public policy experts Sebastian Vos and Gary Guzy were invited to the 2020 CleanEquity Monaco sustainable technology conference to discuss the policy outlook in the EU and US, and likely impacts on efforts to decarbonize carbon-intensive sectors of the economy. The event was presented globally on EarthX TV. Covington’s London-based emerging companies, corporate partner Simon Amies introduced the panel discussion and Washington-based environmental and public policy associate Lindsay Brewer moderated. A link to the full discussion (including some content not presented at the conference) is available here and Monaco news media coverage of the presentation is available here. …
Continue Reading Covington Experts Discuss Decarbonization Strategies in the EU and US at a Leading Global Sustainable Technology Conference
As more companies recognize the value of enhanced sustainability reporting and publicize the positive environmental features of their products and services, they should also be attentive to greater public scrutiny of “green” claims. Companies that engage in greenwashing – asserting exaggerated, misstated, or immaterial environmental claims – are increasingly exposed to reputational damage and legal battles, as regulators, investors, and civil society actors dedicate more resources to scrutinizing environmental claims. Companies also face growing pressure from investors to publish standardized and rigorous sustainability information that allows for cross-industry benchmarking.
Continue Reading Companies Face Greater Scrutiny for Misleading Environmental Claims and Nonstandard Sustainability Reporting