False product claims such as “eco friendly”, “carbon neutral” and “biodegradable” could be a thing of the past. The EU is moving ahead with plans to eradicate greenwashing, which is the use of misleading green labeling claims and ads.
The EU Parliament and Council have reached a provisional agreement on new rules to ban “greenwashing”, a practice that conveys false, misleading or unsubstantiated claims about a product’s environmental benefits. The aim of the new rule is to protect consumers from misleading claims, and to help them make better and more informed buying decisions.
To make “green” claims, companies will need to provide “proof of recognised excellent environmental performance relevant to the claim”, which is why accurate and reliable measurement data will be so crucial to prove this.
What will be banned?
According to European Parliament News, the following won’t be allowed:
- Generic environmental claims, e.g. “environmentally friendly”, “natural”, “biodegradable”, “climate neutral” or “eco”, without proof of recognised excellent environmental performance relevant to the claim
- Commercial communications about a product with a feature that limits its durability if information is available on the feature and its effects on the durability
- Claims based on emissions offsetting schemes that a product has neutral, reduced or positive impact on the environment
- Sustainability labels not based on approved certification schemes or established by public authorities
- Durability claims in terms of usage time or intensity under normal conditions, if not proven;
prompting the consumer to replace consumables, such as printer ink cartridges, earlier than strictly necessary
- Presenting software updates as necessary even if they only enhance functionality features
- Presenting goods as repairable when they are not.
Who will be affected?
All industries that make products will be affected, from food and beverage to fashion, technology and travel.
When will it come into effect?
The Parliament and the Council will vote on bringing the proposals into law in November 2023 and EU member states will be given 24 months to enforce them. This means that if it all goes ahead, many forms of greenwashing will be banned in the EU by the end of 2026.
For more information
See EU Parliament News for more info, or follow our channels for updates.