Who does this affect: This proposal is still under consideration by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. If it is adopted, it will apply to all businesses that offer products or services to consumers in the European Union.
Why has it been introduced: The European Commission proposed this policy directive to help consumers make more informed choices when purchasing products and services that claim to be sustainable. The Commission is responding to concerns about the lack of reliable information about the sustainability of products and services and “greenwashing” in the marketplace resulting from misleading labeling. Generic environmental claims would not be allowed without “recognised excellent environmental performance.” Notably, the proposal includes a ban on lower-carbon or carbon-neutral claims that are not supported by “clear, objective and verifiable commitments and targets.” Those claims would also need to be subject to independent monitoring. This proposed directive is another step designed to advance the EU Green Deal and accelerate the green transition by empowering consumers to make more sustainable choices.
What does it require: Business must provide information about the environmental impact of the products or services they offer. This will include the environmental impact throughout the lifecycle, the energy consumption and GHG emissions, water usage, use of hazardous materials, recyclability or compostability associated with the product or service.
When was this policy proposed: This policy was proposed in March 2022. The EU Parliament and Council of the European Union will need to consider the proposal and reach agreement on a final proposal for adoption. As proposed, businesses would need to comply with the policy within two years of its effective date.
Where is reporting required: The proposal stresses the importance that this information is provided to consumers clearly before they make a purchase. While the details are not yet final, the proposal does outline that the information should be provided online, in-store, and in product catalogs.
Original text: ‘Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Directives 2005/29/EC and 2011/83/EU as regards empowering consumers for the green transition through better protection against unfair practices and better information’