The European Commission has proposed common criteria against greenwashing and misleading environmental claims. When companies choose to make a ‘green claim’ about their products or services, they will have to respect minimum norms on how they substantiate these claims and how they communicate them, as per the new proposal.
The proposal aims to offer consumers more clarity and stronger reassurance that when something is sold as green, it actually is green, and better-quality information to choose environment-friendly products and services, the European Commission said in a press release.
The proposal will also regulate environmental labels. There are currently at least 230 different labels and there is evidence that this leads to consumer confusion and distrust. To control the proliferation of such labels, new public labelling schemes will not be allowed, unless developed at the EU level, and any new private schemes will need to show higher environmental ambition than existing ones and get a pre-approval to be allowed. There are detailed rules about environmental labels in general—they must also be reliable, transparent, independently verified, and regularly reviewed.
Following the ordinary legislative procedure, the Green Claims Directive proposal will now be subject to the approval of the European Parliament and the Council.