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On 22 March, The European Commission has proposed a directive on substantiation and communication of explicit environmental claims that aims to regulate how companies can communicate about sustainability. The proposal is expected to increase the level of environmental protection and accelerate the green transition towards a circular, clean, and climate-neutral economy in the EU. It will also protect consumers and companies from greenwashing and enable consumers to make informed purchasing decisions based on credible environmental claims and labels.
Improving Legal Certainty and Boosting Competitiveness
The proposed directive is expected to improve the legal certainty regarding environmental claims and level the playing field in the internal market. It will also boost the competitiveness of economic operators that make efforts to increase the environmental sustainability of their products and activities, creating cost-saving opportunities for such operators that are trading across borders.
The Key Objectives of the Proposed Directive
The proposed directive has several key objectives. Firstly, it aims to ensure that minimum requirements for substantiation and communication are respected by companies when they make voluntary green claims. Secondly, it sets up verification and enforcement processes to be performed by independent and accredited verifiers. The directive also requires greenhouse gas offsets to be reported in a transparent manner and includes accurate primary or secondary information.
The Underpinning Assessment
The directive also requires that any underpinning assessment used to make environmental claims relies on recognised scientific evidence and state-of-the-art technical knowledge. It must demonstrate the significance of impacts, aspects, and performance from a life-cycle perspective, take into account all significant aspects and impacts to assess performance, and demonstrate whether the claim is accurate for the whole product or only for parts of it. The assessment must also demonstrate that the claim is not equivalent to requirements imposed by law, provide information on whether the product performs environmentally significantly better than what is common practice, and identify whether a positive achievement leads to a significant worsening of another impact.
Preventing the Discouragement of Environmental Protection
The proposed directive is intended to prevent the discouragement of the development of any products or services that truly protect the environment, improve circularity, and so on. It will ensure that companies can make legitimate claims about their products without misleading consumers, which is essential for building consumer trust and promoting a sustainable economy.
In conclusion, the proposed directive is expected to have a significant impact on the regulation of environmental claims in the EU. It will protect consumers from false or misleading claims and encourage businesses to increase their environmental sustainability, ultimately contributing to the transition towards a circular, clean, and climate-neutral economy.
Link to EU Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on substantiation and communication of explicit environmental claims (Green Claims Directive)
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