EU to ban greenwashing in ads

By Julia Wray | Published: 20-Sep-2023

Generic environmental claims will require proof of excellent environmental performance, while claims based on emissions offsetting schemes will be banned

The European parliament and council have provisionally agreed on new rules to ban misleading ‘green’ ads. 

The new rules are expected to help consumers avoid purchasing choices based on misleading information. 

They update the existing EU list of banned commercial practices. 

Under the anti-greenwashing rules, generic environmental claims, such as ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘natural’, ‘biodegradable’, ‘climate neutral’ or ‘eco’, will be prohibited unless there is proof of “recognised excellent environmental performance” relevant to the claim.  

Sustainability labels that are not based on approved certification schemes or established by public authorities will likewise face a ban, as will prompting consumers to replace consumables earlier than strictly necessary.

The EU will also crack down on claims that a product has a neutral, reduced or positive impact on the environment if based on emissions offsetting schemes. 

And guarantee information will have to be made more visible.  

European parliament representative Biljana Borzan commented: “We are clearing the chaos of environmental claims, which will now have to be substantiated, and claims based on emissions offsetting will be banned.”

MEPs are expected to vote on the provisional deal in November. 

And, if the directive comes into force, member states will have 24 months to incorporate the new rules into their law.

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