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S&Ds on new Green Claims Directive: No more misleading claims and greenwashing for eco labels

Date

14 Feb 2024

Sections

Climate & Environment

Today, MEPs in the European Parliament’s committee on the environment, public health and food safety, and the committee on the internal market and consumer protection adopted their position on the Green Claims Directive, which sets out rules requiring companies to substantiate the voluntary green claims they make.

Consumers face a wealth of green claims such as 'eco-friendly', 'green', 'environmentally correct', but many of them are not reliable. Surveys have shown that in many cases, such claims are vague, misleading and unfounded, or not corroborated. From soaps to sunscreens, this directive will apply to explicit environmental claims made by traders about products placed on the market or put into service, including through online marketplaces, or traders and environmental labelling schemes in business-to-consumer commercial practices.

For the S&D Group, the goal of the directive is clear: fight greenwashing in the interests of the environment and consumer protection. S&Ds have advocated in the negotiations between political groups for strong measures including on ex-ante verification, limiting claims on carbon offsetting and appropriate penalties. 

Cyrus Engerer, EP co-rapporteur and member of the European Parliament’s committee on the environment, public health and food safety, said:

“About 56% of EU consumers consider the environment when purchasing goods and services. The Green Claims Directive should ensure that they are well informed and therefore can trust the information they are given when making purchasing decisions. 

“To contribute to the transition towards a toxic-free environment, we also fought to give the Commission the possibility to restrict or prohibit the use of green claims on certain products that contain substances that are harmful to our environment or health.” 

Laura Ballarin, S&D shadow rapporteur and member of the European Parliament’s committee on the internal market and consumer protection, said:

“We need to protect consumers from greenwashing! We know that consumers prefer buying a product bearing an environmental label to a product without one. We also know from the recent surveys that consumers believe green claims and labels should only be authorised if pre-approved or verified. S&Ds pushed to maintain ex-ante verification and certification conducted by an independent and accredited verifier to ensure that all labels claiming 'green' or 'eco-friendly' products appealing to the eco-conscious consumer are not misleading or harmful. 

Notes to the editors

A plenary vote is foreseen to take place in March.

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