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Jaclyn Noble: The EU is Clearing the Chaos of Environmental Claims

Jaclyn Noble: The EU is Clearing the Chaos of Environmental Claims

The EU is Clearing the Chaos of Environmental Claims
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The European Union (EU) is on a mission to rescue us from the confusion and chaos of eco-marketing claims, and it is perfect timing as we head into a new year! This past week, by an overwhelming majority, the EU voted to adopt new laws which will better protect consumer rights, promote environmentally friendly purchase decisions and support a circular economy that reuses and recycles products.

The EU is declaring a ban on generic claims like natural, eco and environmentally friendly unless they can actually be substantiated. No more vague marketing claims which have plagued the fashion industry, with notable brands like H&M, Zara, Uniqlo, Nike even Allbirds facing scrutiny over “greenwashing”. Consumer mistrust is currently high and responsible sustainable efforts are not being validated. This is a superhero move which will be great for consumers and responsible brands alike.

To enhance transparency and trustworthiness in product labeling, the EU mandates that information on a product’s environmental impact, longevity, repairability, composition, production, and usage must be supported by verifiable sources ensuring consumers are not misled. Consumers votes with their dollars, and this helps make informed decisions.

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In March 2022 the European Commission proposed an update to EU consumer rules. Fast forward to January 2024, and Parliament has given the final green light to the directive. With 593 votes in favor, 21 against, and 14 abstainers, it’s a victory for transparency!

But this isn’t just about fighting misinformation. The EU is also addressing standardized methodologies and putting a spotlight on durability. It is critical that we return to products that can withstand the test of time. Eco design is setting the bar high for product development standards, and I personally appreciate the Right to Repair, ensuring we can fix things instead of playing the throwaway game.

But that’s not all! The EU is throwing shade on claims that a product is an environmental hero just because the producer offset some emissions. And here’s a round of applause for producers extending guarantees at no extra cost – they get a shiny extended guarantee label.

Biljana Borzan, the Parliament’s reporter, is our guide through this superhero journey, “clearing the chaos” of environmental claims. The EU readies for a vote in November by the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Once they give it the thumbs up, member states have 24 months to implement it into their national laws. It’s a perfect New Year resolution for a more transparent and sustainable future!


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