European Union cracking down on 'greenwashing'

European Union cracking down on ‘greenwashing’

Manufacturers will need to prove their products' environmental initiative claims, the European Commission says.

A new law proposed by the European Union (EU) will require manufacturers and other organizations to prove their products’ environmental initiative claims. The European Commission says there are more than 200 environmental labels active in the EU, and more than 450 active worldwide; there are more than 80 widely used reporting initiatives and methods for carbon emissions only. The Commission says some of these methods and initiatives are reliable but some are not, and they are variable in the issues they cover.

The Commission says another issue is greenwashing – companies giving a false impression of their environmental impact or benefits.

To tackle this issue, the European Green Deal states “Companies making ‘green claims’ should substantiate these against a standard methodology to assess their impact on the environment.”

The 2020 Circular Economy action plan commits that “the Commission will also propose that companies substantiate their environmental claims using Product and Organisation Environmental Footprint methods.”

The Commission went on to define greenwashing as claims that are:

  • Based on excessive promises.
  • Have insufficient scientific data to support the claims.
  • Employ confusing images that lead consumers to believe a product positively impacts the environment, even when it does not.

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