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Greenwashing | Germany Urges EU to Ban Misleading 'Climate Neutrality' Advertising Ahead of Crucial Vote

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In anticipation of an upcoming EU decision on the "Directive to Strengthen Consumer Empowerment for the Green Transition," the German Environmental Aid (DUH) is urging EU member states to vote for a clear ban on misleading advertising related to "climate neutrality."

The DUH welcomes the European Parliament's proposal to enhance consumer protection by prohibiting greenwashing through alleged climate neutrality claims, a practice they have been challenging through legal action. The DUH criticizes businesses for prioritizing compensation-based emissions solutions over genuine environmental improvements in products and services, deceiving consumers in the process. They argue that compensation projects often fail to deliver on their promise of complete emission offset. The DUH calls on EU trilogue parties to support the Parliament's ambitious proposal.

DUH CEO Jürgen Resch emphasizes that companies should not be allowed to offset their CO2 emissions cheaply with dubious climate protection certificates and market their products as climate-neutral, citing misleading terms like "climate-neutral," "climate-positive," or "CO2-neutral." Such claims imply that consumers can make purchases without harming the climate, despite compensation projects often falling short of fully offsetting emissions. Resch emphasizes the need for genuine consumer protection and points out that the DUH has won cases against companies like TotalEnergies and dm in national courts.

Agnes Sauter, Head of Ecological Market Monitoring at DUH, expresses concern over the increasing deceptive advertising that provides consumers with distorted and incomplete information about the actual climate and environmental impacts of companies, products, and services. She believes that the EU has an opportunity to combat this greenwashing by adopting the Parliament's proposal.


The EU Commission has initiated two projects in recent months to combat the growing issue of greenwashing. The trilogue will make the final decision on the "Amendment of Directives 2005/29/EC and 2011/83/EU for the Strengthening of Consumers for the Ecological Transition through Better Protection against Unfair Practices and Better Information" next Tuesday. Additionally, the "Directive of the European Parliament and Council on the Substantiation of Express Environmental Claims and Related Communication," also known as the "Green Claims Directive," is currently undergoing public consultation and will be discussed in EU bodies soon.


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