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Published on March 22nd, 2016

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LEI Eco Alkaline Batteries

The Energizer bunny is not so happy with a competitor that made some dubious environmentally friendly claims an ad industry self-regulatory board said it could not back up.  Energizer Brands LLC filed a complaint with NAD against LEI Electronics Inc., the maker of Eco Alkalines brand of batteries, regarding the company’s carbon neutral marketing claims.

The challenged LEI claims include:

  • “every purchase is carbon neutral”
  • “by purchasing Eco Alkalines batteries, you’re doing your part to reduce the CO2 and climate  change impact brought about by the production, distribution, and disposal of alkaline  batteries.”
  • “100% carbon neutral alkaline battery”

NAD pointed to the FTC’s Green Guides, which state that an advertiser should not make a carbon offset claim unless the emission reductions “have already occurred or will occur in the immediate future.” Absent that, the advertiser “should clearly and prominently disclose if  the carbon offset represents emission reductions that will not occur for two years or longer.”

In response, LEI referred to its third-party certification from Carbonfund.org. The company said it paid its membership fee for the Carbonfund.org program and presented certificates that demonstrated its financial contribution to offset carbon emissions.

But NAD said it did not provide it with information about when the reductions occurred or will occur and thus has referred the matter to the FTC for further review.

Commenting on NAD’s actions, LEI noted that it had taken steps to comply with certain NAD recommendations and said the Carbonfund’s Certified Carbonfree Products program complies with FTC Green Guides. It said it will not discontinue its claim that its EcoAlkaline batteries are carbon neutral. The CarbonFund also issued a statement saying LEI’s carbon offsets were confirmed.

For more information on batteries, click here.

This alert was updated on 4/22/16. 

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The National Advertising Division, or NAD, is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. NAD asks advertisers to substantiate or change their claims in advertisements. As part of a voluntary system of self-regulation, however, its recommendations can be ignored by the offending advertisers. In those instances, NAD refers the offender to federal consumer protection agencies.

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