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Green Claims Directive: European Parliament makes an unclear step forward in the fight against greenwashing


12 Mar 2024


Climate & Environment

Brussels, 12 March 2024 – The European Parliament has just set its position on the Directive on substantiation and communication of explicit environmental claims (Green Claims Directive) in its intent to simplify the administrative process particularly for simple claims. While there is a clear recognition of the role of third-party independent verification in the substantiation of claims, the Parliament introduces some requirements that potentially will have negative effects on the Directive efficiency in fighting greenwashing. 

In the approved text, the Parliament:

  • Proposes to create a simplified procedure for the verification of simpler claims and opens the door to the presumption of conformity of certain ones. Presumption of conformity goes against the spirit of the Directive to avoid unverified claims. TIC Council alerts on the risk to see inappropriate claims in the absence of independent verification. Besides, simplified procedures for verification of simpler claims are already part of certification processes; there is probably no need to state in a law what now is normal commercial practice. TIC Council will engage with the Commission in the drafting of the delegated acts to define this simplified procedure without compromising the quality of the verification.
  • Introduces a time limit of 30 days for verification (extended to another 30 in justified cases). TIC Council considers that time limitation for the verification is not appropriate, as its duration depends significantly on the applicant ability to provide in time the information requested by the verifier and to implement the possible corrective actions. Adding a timeframe could place undue pressure and bias on a project that would hinder the work by a third party. 
  • Links verification costs to the complexity of the substantiation and the size of the trader, especially with smaller companies that face higher comparative costs. Cost is only linked to the complexity of the process, not to the company that sets the claim. Smaller companies already receive more attention and assistance from the verifier. We do not understand the legality of including a part of contract law in a European piece of legislation.

On the other hand, we warmly welcome the creation of a Consultation Forum with stakeholders to assess the Commission in the elaboration of the secondary legislation. It will be an excellent opportunity for verifiers to share their years-long expertise in the field of verification of environmental claims. 

“TIC Council calls on the European Parliament to consider during the trilogues these provisions that will make the verification system work better, in the benefit of both consumers and companies in the fight against greenwashing, without adding unnecessary burdens to the industry. The TIC industry is ready for the tasks that the text requires and calls for clear requirements in this highly needed Directive”, commented Hanane Taidi, Director General of TIC Council.