The European Commission published its long awaited proposed Directive on Green Claims on 22 March. This landmark legislation seeks to address the issue of greenwashing, and forms part of the EU Green Deal package to empower consumers in relation to making choices that are informed by environmental considerations.
As part of the ordinary legislative procedure, the Green Claims Directive proposal will be subject to the approval of the European Parliament and the Council.
· The proposal addresses (1) environmental claims made by companies, to ensure such claims are substantiated; (2) environmental labelling schemes, stopping the proliferation of public and private labels and ensuring transparency and robustness of labelling schemes.
· Green claims that are made have to be verified by an independent third party against requirements set out in the directive. This verification of the claims has to be done before claims are made and put on the market.
· Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees and less than €2 million turnover) are exempt from the obligations of the directive.
· The Commission will publish and keep an up-to date a list of officially recognised environmental labels that are allowed to be used on the Union market after the Directive enters into force.
Environmental / Sustainability labels
· Claims or labels that use aggregate scoring of the product's overall environmental impact on, for example, biodiversity, climate, water consumption, soil, etc., shall not be permitted, unless set in EU rules.
· Environmental labelling schemes should be solid and reliable, and their proliferation must be controlled. EU level schemes should be encouraged, new public schemes, unless developed at EU level, will not be allowed, and new private schemes are only allowed if they can show higher environmental ambition than existing ones and get a pre-approval.
· The measures foreseen include a ban on new environmental labelling schemes developed by private operators in the EU or from external partners who operate on the EU market, unless they can prove to Member States their added value for the EU market in terms of their environmental ambition or coverage of impacts. Such schemes will be subject to a notification and approval by the Commission.
· Environmental labels must be transparent, verified by a third party, and regularly reviewed.
· The Commission will adopt implementing acts to provide the detailed requirements for approval of environmental labelling schemes by Member States, including those new environmental labelling schemes developed by private operators for use in the EU.
What will the proposal mean for international trade partners?
· Businesses that are based outside the EU and make voluntary environmental claims directed at EU consumers will also have to respect the requirements set out in the proposed directive.
Feedback on the Green Claims proposal can be provided on the until 18 May 2023, and this deadline will be extended every day until this adopted proposal is available in all EU languages.
Contact: Lebo Mofolo, firstname.lastname@example.org