Industry News

The EU has created a new law which prevents companies advertising erroneous claims of sustainability

by | Sep 26, 2023

After multiple complaints of greenwashing from consumers, EU institutions have created a new law which will tackle greenwashing by banning companies advertising misleading claims of sustainability.

Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or misleading information about how a company’s products are environmentally friendly or ‘carbon-neutral’. This new law aims to stop businesses presenting this false information to customers very quickly.

The deputy director of EU consumer advocates BEUC, Ursula Pachl commented, “There is no such thing as ‘carbon-neutral’ or ‘CO2 neutral’ cheese, plastic bottles, flights, or bank accounts. Carbon-neutral claims are greenwashing, plain and simple.”

One of the first things predicted to change will be cheap carbon offsetting offers from airlines who claim to sell ‘climate-neutral’ flying. This is the case not only because of the ban, but also because carbon offsetting has gained a bad reputation with activists due to the untrustworthy nature of the practice and its non-permanent nature.

The movement to make this new law began in March 2022, when the European Commission negotiated with Parliament over a law designed to empower consumers, through stopping companies making claims that their products are climate neutral. This negotiation ended in favour of the law and Biljana Borzan, a Croatian EU lawmaker, said that, “We have achieved an excellent deal for consumers,” Borzan continued, “We are clearing the chaos of environmental claims, which will now have to be substantiated, and claims based on emissions offsetting will be banned.”

This new law is an incredibly positive step forwards and it will mean that any claims made by companies and products now will be trustworthy as these claims will have to be backed up by evidence. Anna Cavazzini, a green EU lawmaker in charge of the consumer protection committee, expressed her enthusiasm about the new deal,” The agreement is good news for all who want to shop sustainably.”

Furthermore, this positive improvement for consumers will go further by companies being expected to be very clear about the expected life of their products. This information will be required to be displayed on the product labels so that consumers know exactly what they are getting.

The law still needs to go through final approval, but it is expected to come into effect in 2026, as business will be given two years to re-design what they advertise.

This law is one of three designed to help Europe accelerate towards climate neutrality, by making Europe’s products climate neutrality. The next steps for this project are to continue the drive towards eradicating all untrustworthy green claims and for the EU to press forwards on two laws relating to the first. These laws are the green claim directive and carbon remove certification framework.

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