of Communications faculty member Nancy Engelhardt presented her
research on the history of the development of federal guidelines
for environmental claims on product labels at the International,
Interdisciplinary Public Relations Conference held in Miami, March
Labeling and Consumer Products: A History of Policy, Regulation
and Usage, 1990-2000," traces the development of federal eco-labeling
regulations, from the recommendations laid out by the Attorneys
General Task Force in their Green Reports to the current FTC guidelines.
focuses on governmental agencies that were involved in regulating
the use of these labels, non-governmental organizations that were
vocal about the use of eco-labels, and industry groups that played
a major role in the establishment of environmental labeling policy.
claims grew during the 1990s, so did the use of vague and misleading
claims to entice consumers. This misrepresentation of claims created
skepticism by consumers and frustration for environmental organizations,
governments, and marketers and led to the eventual actions by the
federal government to provide guidance.
only a small number of cases have been brought by the FTC since
the early 1990s, the guides are considered effective in limiting
the use of misleading claims," Engelhardt said. "Because
the guides promote open trade and do not strictly regulate labeling
claims, the FTC guides have been hailed as the standard for international
trade labeling claims as the FTC worked closely with international
organizations in the development of international standards."
is an assistant professor of communications, and was senior communications
officer for World Wildlife Fund, headquartered in Washington, D.C.,
previous to her arrival at Elon University in the fall of 2002.