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Green Claims Directive: Update on recent developments

Published on 27 Mar 2024 | 1 minute read

On 12 March, the European Parliament (the Parliament) voted 467-65 to approve their adopted position on the proposed directive on the substantiation and communication of explicit environmental claims (the “Green Claims Directive”).

The proposal for the Green Claims Directive was released by the European Commission (the Commission) on the 22 March 2023, introducing minimum requirements for companies wishing to substantiate and communicate explicit environmental claims not mandated by law. The directive is intended to be applicable for all traders making such claims in B2C practices, except for micro entities, and sets regulatory requirements in the following areas.

  • How an explicit environmental claim must be substantiated
  • How an explicit environmental claim may be communicated to the consumer
  • Minimum requirements for environmental labelling schemes
  • Verification and enforcement processes for ensuring compliance

Under the Parliament’s recently adopted position, which is made after the first reading of the legislative proposal as presented by the Commission, some of the regulatory requirements have been amended and specified as it relates to the following:

  • Timeline for verification of claims and supporting evidence: Claims and supporting evidence must be reviewed and verified by third-party verifiers within 30 days, with the possibility of a streamlined process for simpler claims.
  • Clarification on the ban of explicit environmental claims based entirely on the use of carbon offsetting schemes: While a ban is still stipulated under the proposed amendments, companies would be allowed to mention these schemes in marketing if they have reduced emissions as much as possible and the schemes are only used for residual emissions.
  • A one-year grace period for SMEs: Small and medium-sized businesses are given one additional year to be compliant - micro entities will still be exempt.

The Green Claims Directive will progress further after the upcoming elections for the Parliament in June. If an agreement is reached between the Parliament and the Council of the European Union, EU member states will be required to implement the directive into national legislation after two years and are required to apply the requirements of the directive after 36 months.

To learn more about the Green Claims Directive and what B2C businesses could do to prepare, please read our previous article Greenwashing in the EU: New EU legislation laying down minimum requirements

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