Overview of EU Green Claim Directive - proposal of March 2023

Overview of EU Green Claim Directive - proposal of March 2023

In today's world, where sustainability is increasingly at the forefront of consumer consciousness, understanding the rights of the consumer is paramount. Consumers deserve transparency and clarity when making choices that impact the environment.

As you might know that on 22 March 2023, the European Commission put forward a proposal for a directive on green claims. The proposed directive would require companies to substantiate the voluntary green claims they make in business-to-consumer commercial practices, by complying with a number of requirements regarding their assessment (e.g. taking a life-cycle perspective)

In this blog post, we delve into this document and the significant role which can play to ensuring a more informed and sustainable marketplace.

The main objective of this proposal as mentioning in European Commission portal, addresses

  • 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 product.


Greenwashing definition


So, to be compliant with the Green Claims Directive , an environmental labeling scheme must meet certain conditions. These conditions include:

  1. The environmental labeling scheme must be developed by experts to ensure scientific robustness and relevance from a societal perspective .
  2. The scheme must have a complaint and dispute resolution mechanism in place to address issues raised by stakeholders or consumers.
  3. Procedures for dealing with non-compliance and the possibility of withdrawing or suspending the environmental label in case of persistent and flagrant non-compliance with the scheme's requirements must be established .
  4. The governance criteria of the environmental labeling scheme must comply with the requirements set out in the directive, including third-party verification and regular monitoring to ensure compliance with the underlying requirements of the sustainability label .
  5. The labeling scheme should not be self-certified, and it should be based on a certification scheme or established by public authorities to ensure credibility and transparency .

By meeting these conditions, an environmental labeling scheme can be considered compliant with the Green Claims Directive and contribute to combating greenwashing, increasing consumer trust in environmental labels, and promoting sustainability in the marketplace.

The Green Claims Directive proposes specific rules to address false environmental claims by establishing requirements for the substantiation, communication, and verification of explicit environmental claims. These rules are applicable to companies operating in the European Union and aim to ensure that environmental claims are based on recognized excellent environmental performance relevant to the claim. The directive prohibits generic environmental claims that are not based on such recognized performance, such as 'eco-friendly', 'eco', 'green', 'nature's friend', 'ecological', and 'environmentally correct'.

Furthermore, the directive sets out detailed Union rules on the substantiation of explicit environmental claims in business-to-consumer communication. These rules contribute to the green transition by enabling consumers to make informed purchasing decisions and create a level playing field for market operators making such claims. The framework for environmental claims established by the directive is part of the European Green Deal's efforts to provide reliable, comparable, and verifiable information to consumers, reduce the risk of 'greenwashing,' and tackle false environmental claims.

An finally , last but not least, in this document it has been firmly emphasized on the role of consumers.

Consumers play a crucial role in accelerating the green transition according to the European Green Deal. The European Commission is committed to empowering consumers to make better-informed choices and actively participate in the ecological transition. The Green Deal emphasizes the importance of ensuring that buyers receive reliable, comparable, and verifiable information to make more sustainable decisions and reduce the risk of 'greenwashing'.

Specifically, consumers are seen as key actors in driving the demand for environmentally friendly products and services. By making informed purchasing decisions based on credible environmental claims and labels, consumers can contribute to accelerating the green transition. The European Green Deal aims to address barriers that hinder consumers from making environmentally sustainable choices, such as a lack of trust in the credibility of environmental claims and the proliferation of misleading commercial practices related to the environmental sustainability of products.

Overall, empowering consumers with transparent and reliable information on the sustainability, durability, and carbon footprint of products is essential for fostering a more sustainable economy and achieving the goals set out in the European Green Deal.



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