New EU Directive Promotes Environmental Transparency

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The Green Claims Directive aims to address the shortcomings of environmental advertising regulation within the EU.

Published: 26 Mar, 2024

In recent years, the practice of greenwashing—deceptive or exaggerated claims of a product's environmental benefits — has eroded consumer trust and blurred the concept of sustainability.  As a response, the European Union has introduced the Green Claims Directive, aiming to provide consumers with clearer information about the environmental impact of products and services. This will outlaw the use of vague or misleading terminology like environmentally friendly, natural, biodegradable, climate neutral, and eco without clear evidence.

The directive emphasizes the importance of transparency, requiring companies to substantiate any environmental claims they make. This means that businesses must provide evidence to support their assertions regarding the eco-friendliness of their offerings. Furthermore, the directive outlines specific criteria that companies must meet when making environmental claims. These criteria cover aspects such as the use of eco-labels, the presence of eco-friendly materials, and the impact on biodiversity.

By enforcing stricter regulations around green claims, the EU hopes to foster greater trust between consumers and businesses while encouraging companies to adopt more sustainable practices. This move is seen as a significant step towards achieving the EU's environmental goals and promoting a more sustainable economy.

4 ways to prevent Greenwashing from occurring in your company:
  1. Be transparent: sustainability is a work in progress and it’s better to admit this than to overpromise. This applies to your customers, suppliers, and investors.

  2. Set realistic targets: don’t be overambitious, as you will have to report on your sustainability goals.

  3. Support claims with evidence: support your marketing campaigns with facts that help customers see the broader impact.

  4. Avoid vague language or unverified labels: vague statements like ‘eco-friendly’ or ‘green’ do not add value to consumers or help you explain sustainability practices, instead be specific on a particular point that can be verified. For example: is your product or packaging made from a high proportion of bio-based content?
    You can apply for the Testfakta Bio-Based label here.