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S&Ds lead the way to ban greenwashing in the EU


20 Sep 2023


Global Europe
Last night we made a major step forward to better protect consumers against unfair commercial practices in a political agreement with the Council on EU law empowering consumers for the green transition.
Consumers today consider the environment when making a purchase. This is why the S&D Group has been at the forefront of the negotiations – to empower consumers in the green transition by tackling unfair commercial practices such as early obsolescence and by enabling citizens to choose products that are more durable, repairable, and sustainable.
The provisional deal will bring more clarity and ensure that any product that is sold as ‘green’, is actually ‘green’. It includes some of our progressive proposals, such as a ban on generic environmental claims like “environmentally friendly”, “natural”, “biodegradable”, or “eco” without proof of recognised excellent environmental performance relevant to the claim. In addition, claims on products such as “climate neutral” or “climate positive” based on offsetting will be banned.
Biljana Borzan, S&D vice-president and Parliament negotiator on ‘Empowering consumers for the green transition’ during the trilogues, said:
“Today, around 60% of European consumers are not aware that they have a legal guarantee on all products for a minimum of two years. With this agreement, we change that! A reminder of your rights will be displayed in every shop in the EU.
“In addition, we will put the reminder on the packaging of products that also have a commercial guarantee on durability. In that way, consumers know which product will last longer and will therefore choose the ones with a higher number on the label! The label will also have an additional reminder of the benefits associated with the obligatory legal guarantee. 
“We want to end greenwashing! This is why misleading claims based on offsetting that assert that products are ‘climate neutral’ and ‘climate positive’ will be banned, as they do not align with scientific evidence. The new rules will also fight against early obsolescence and will ban any commercial communication in relation to products that include features designed to limit a product's durability. This has been a persistent demand from the Socialists and Democrats and we welcome that it was included in the agreement with member states.”
Note to the editors
The provisional deal is expected to be voted on during the plenary session in January. If adopted, member states will have 24 months to incorporate the new rules into their national laws.