New criteria to stop companies from making misleading claims about environmental merits of their products and services.
Today it is difficult for consumers to make sense of the many labels on the environmental performance of products (both goods and services) and companies.
Some environmental claims are not reliable, and consumer trust in them is extremely low. Consumers can be misled, and companies can give a false impression of their environmental impacts or benefits – a practise known as greenwashing.
With a proposed new law on green claims, the EU is taking action to address greenwashing, and protect consumers and the environment.
Ensuring that environmental labels and claims are credible and trustworthy will allow consumers to make better informed purchasing decisions. It will also boost the competitiveness of businesses who are striving to increase the environmental sustainability of their products and activities.
The proposal on green claims aims to
- make green claims reliable, comparable and verifiable across the EU
- protect consumers from greenwashing
- contribute to creating a circular and green EU economy by enabling consumers to make informed purchasing decisions
- help establish a level playing field when it comes to environmental performance of products
In March 2023, the Commission adopted a proposal for a Directive on Green Claims. The proposal complements and further operationalises the proposal for a Directive on empowering consumers in the green transition.
To ensure consumers receive reliable, comparable and verifiable environmental information on products, the proposal includes
- clear criteria on how companies should prove their environmental claims and labels
- requirements for these claims and labels to be checked by an independent and accredited verifier and
- new rules on governance of environmental labelling schemes to ensure they are solid, transparent and reliable
The proposal targets explicit claims that
- are made on a voluntary basis by businesses towards consumers,
- cover the environmental impacts, aspects or performance of a product or the trader itself
- are not currently covered by other EU rules
Some examples of green claims are:
- “Company’s environmental footprint reduced by 20% since 2015”
“CO2 emissions linked to this product halved as compared to 2020”
- “Packaging made of 30% recycled plastic”