A draft of the upcoming proposal on green claims was leaked last week, allowing us to anticipate how the European Commission intends to regulate environmental claims. Green or environmental claims refer to the use of statements such as “green”, “eco” or “environmentally friendly” on products or services placed on the EU market.
This proposal for a directive aims at preventing companies from using the so-called green claims when they are not substantiated by proper evidence.
The proposal mentions a study carried out in 2020 which found that more than half of the claims assessed on products provided vague, misleading or unfounded information about products’ environmental characteristics across a wide range of product categories.
With this legislation, the European Commission wants to gradually extend the application of Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology across a wider range of products. In particular, it recognises the need to assess differently the environmental performance of the various product categories on the EU market.
The EU Executive would therefore develop rules specific to each product category, called Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCRs) and of sector-specific rules, called Organisation Environmental Footprint Sector Rules (OEFSRs). EU expert groups will be tasked with developing PEF methodologies and corresponding labelling schemes for specific groups of products. This will be done via delegated acts.
The EU is expected to first finalise its work on defining a methodology for apparel, marine fish , synthetic turf, cut flowers, potted plants and flexible packaging.
Under the new rules, Member States will have to designate one or more competent authorities as responsible for the application and enforcement of this directive. They will also have to set penalties in case of non-compliance.
Although the legislation on green claims is presented as a stand-alone legislation, it is complementary to the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive and the two proposals are likely to be transposed jointly.
The final proposal on green claims is expected to be presented on 22 March 2023.