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EU Council Adopts Position on Green Claims Directive to Combat Greenwashing and Protect Consumers

EU Council Adopts Position on Green Claims Directive to Combat Greenwashing and Protect Consumers

EU Council Adopts Position on Green Claims Directive to Combat Greenwashing and Protect Consumers
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Key Impact Points:

  • Stricter Rules: New directive aims to eliminate misleading green claims.
  • Verification Required: Green claims must be verified by independent experts.
  • Support for SMEs: Measures to help small businesses comply with new rules.

Green Claims Directive: Council Moves Forward
The Council has adopted its stance on the green claims directive, aiming to combat greenwashing and empower consumers to make informed, eco-friendly decisions.

Consumer Trust at Stake
A 2020 study revealed over half of environmental claims are vague or misleading. The directive sets minimum standards for substantiating, communicating, and verifying these claims.

Alain Maron, Minister of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for climate change, environment, energy and participatory democracy, stated:
“Today, we reached an important agreement to fight greenwashing by setting rules on clear, sufficient, and evidence-based information on the environmental characteristics of products and services. Our aim is to help European citizens make well-founded green choices.”

Scope and Specifics
The proposal targets explicit environmental claims and labels used voluntarily by companies. It distinguishes between explicit claims and labels, specifying obligations for each.

Clear and Evidence-Based Claims
Companies must use clear criteria and scientific evidence to substantiate claims. Claims should reference specific environmental characteristics like durability, recyclability, or biodiversity.

Verification and Simplified Procedure
The green claims directive maintains the need for third-party verification of green claims but introduces a simplified procedure for certain claims. Microenterprises get a 14-month extension to comply with the rules.

Support measures for SMEs include guidelines, tools, and potential financial aid.

Public Environmental Labels
Ministers agreed on new schemes for public environmental labels, exempting those regulated by EU or national law from third-party verification if they meet EU standards.

Climate-Related Claims
New requirements mandate detailed information about carbon credits, distinguishing between contribution and offset claims. Companies must show progress toward decarbonization and net-zero targets.

Next Steps
The Council’s position will guide negotiations with the European Parliament. Talks are expected in the new legislative cycle.

Background and Context
In a Eurobarometer survey, 90% of Europeans supported stricter rules for environmental claims. This directive aligns with the European Green Deal’s goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

Relevant History of Greenwashing Regulations
This new green claims directive builds on previous efforts to combat greenwashing. The European regulators have called for enhanced oversight to tackle greenwashing in the financial sector, urging stricter supervision to ensure transparency and accountability. Read more.

Additionally, the EU has finalized new guidelines aimed at preventing greenwashing in ESG and sustainability fund names, ensuring that fund labels accurately reflect their environmental impact. Read more.

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