Cleaning Up Commerce: EU Directive Targets Greenwashing

The European Parliament has recently approved the new Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition Directive, a pivotal step in combating greenwashing, unreliable and non-transparent sustainability labels and information tools and premature obsolescence practices.

This directive is integral to fostering a circular, clean, and green EU economy, empowering consumers to make informed purchasing decisions and contribute to a more sustainable consumption pattern. Notably, the directive will amend the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD) and the Consumer Rights Directive (CRD).

One of the primary objectives of these new rules is to enhance the clarity and reliability of product labeling by prohibiting the use of broad environmental claims such as “environmentally friendly,” “natural,” “biodegradable,” “climate neutral,” or “eco” without substantiating evidence.

The use of sustainability labels will also now be regulated. In the future, only sustainability labels based on official certification schemes or established by public authorities will be permitted in the EU.

Furthermore, the directive will bar claims that a product has a neutral, reduced, or positive impact on the environment due to emissions offsetting schemes. Another crucial aspect of the law is its emphasis on encouraging producers and consumers to prioritize the durability of goods.

In the future, guarantee information has to be more visible and a new, harmonized label will be created to give more prominence to goods with an extended guarantee period.

In addition, the directive will prohibit baseless durability claims, discourage premature replacement of consumables, and prevent misrepresentation of goods as repairable when they are not.

This directive will be implemented alongside another significant directive in the field, the Green Claims Directive. Latter will establish requirements on the substantiation and communication of environmental claims and environmental labelling in B2C commercial practices.

The adoption of both draft directives is anticipated later this spring and they will enter into force on the 20th day following their publication in the Official Journal of the EU. Member States will then have to start applying the provisions of the Directives 24 months following their adoption.



Anikó Keller, Partner

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