Green Claims Directive: EU Parliament Approves Proposal

On March 12, the EU Parliament voted in favor of the EU proposal for the planned Green Claims Directive. With this directive, the EU defines the framework for how companies must substantiate environmental claims about their products and/or services in the future. The EU wants to stop companies from greenwashing.

Among other requirements, the Green Claims Directive stipulates that:

  • In the future, companies must check and scientifically confirm environmental claims, such as “biodegradable,” before they advertise them.
  • EU member states must appoint and commission experts who can check and approve such advertising claims.
  • Companies that violate the new rules can be excluded from public tenders and fined up to 4% of their annual turnover.

Greenwashing is widespread

Reviews and studies that show that greenwashing is more widespread than expected serve as the background to the legislative initiative. One of these studies, undertaken in 2020, revealed that more than half of the environmental claims examined for products and services in the EU are vague to misleading, and around 40% are simply insubstantial.

Content of the guidelines is not yet fixed

However, the vote in the EU Parliament does not yet finalize the directive. The next step is for the European Council to consider the matter. It is certain that only the newly elected EU Parliament will decide on the final proposal in June. Non-governmental organizations pushing for a quick solution fear that the content of the directive could be watered down as a result.

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