European Commission proposes Green Claims Directive


On March 22, 2023, the European Commission (EC) published the adopted proposal for a new directive on the substantiation and communication of environmental claims – known informally as the Green Claims Directive. The directive aims to ensure transparent communications of environmental claims. “Consumers will have more clarity, stronger reassurance that when something is sold as green, it actually is green, and better quality information to choose environment-friendly products and services,” the EC writes in its press release. In addition, the Commission asserts that businesses will also profit from this directive, as genuine environmental and sustainability claims will make products more attractive to consumers. By regulating the communications of such claims, the EC explains that a level playing field is ensured.

In an impact assessment study published in March 2022, the Commission found that “53.3% of examined environmental claims in the EU were found to be vague, misleading or unfounded and 40% were unsubstantiated.” According to the proposal, companies will have to independently verify any environmental claims and submit scientific evidence as proof. This includes disclosing the impacts relevant to the product and recognizing trade-offs. Furthermore, overall scoring of the environmental impact of a product will not be allowed anymore. Comparisons to other products or companies will require equivalent information and data. “Green claims are everywhere: ocean-friendly t-shirts, carbon-neutral bananas, bee-friendly juices, 100% CO2-compensated deliveries, and so on. Unfortunately, way too often these claims are made with no evidence and justification whatsoever,” says Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal in the press release.

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Food Packaging Forum, 27-03-23