European Parliament Cracks Down on Greenwashing: New Rules to Ensure Environmental Integrity

Consumers Protected as Stricter Regulations Combat Misleading Environmental Claims by Companies

EU parliament

The European Parliament has taken decisive action to safeguard consumers against greenwashing, a practice where companies mislead consumers with false environmental claims. In a recent vote, the Parliament approved new regulations aimed at ensuring transparency and accuracy in businesses’ environmental assertions.

Under the proposed directive, companies will be required to substantiate any voluntary green claims made in their business-to-consumer interactions. This entails adhering to a set of stringent requirements, such as adopting a life-cycle perspective in their assessments.

The Parliament’s decision marks a significant step towards bolstering the credibility of green claims and labels, as well as improving governance processes for sustainability labels.

The directive, titled ‘Directive on Green Claims’, addresses concerns raised by a study revealing that over half of environmental claims made by companies in the EU were either vague or misleading, with 40% lacking any substantiation.

Key provisions of the proposal include establishing minimum requirements for businesses to substantiate, communicate, and verify their green claims. This necessitates independent verification and scientific evidence to ensure the reliability of environmental assertions.

Furthermore, the directive sets a strict timeline for the assessment of green claims and evidence, with a 30-day window for evaluation. Common claims may benefit from expedited verification processes, streamlining the compliance procedure for businesses.

Commenting on the Parliament’s decision, Cyrus Engerer, rapporteur for the Environment Committee, emphasized the importance of curbing greenwashing. He stated, “It is time to put an end to greenwashing. Our position ends the proliferation of misleading green claims that have deceived consumers for far too long. We will ensure businesses have the right tools to embrace genuine sustainability practices. European consumers want to make sustainable choices; all those offering products or services must guarantee their green claims are scientifically verified.”

The approved rules signify a significant milestone in the European Union’s efforts to promote transparency and integrity in environmental marketing, ultimately empowering consumers to make informed and environmentally conscious decisions.

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