On March 22, 2023, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a new directive to prevent businesses from misleading their customers about the environmental characteristics of their products and services.
The proposed Green Claims Directive (“GCD”) aims to provide consumers with valid, comparable, and verifiable information about the environmental impacts of the purchased products. The new rules will regulate various claims made by businesses regarding the environmental aspects or performance of their products or services that are not already targeted by other EU rules.
GCD also regulates environmental labels, which provide information on the environmental characteristics of a product or a service. There is an increasing number of labels on the EU market and consumers are struggling to read and rely on them. The GCD sets out clear criteria for companies to prove their environmental claims and mandates that these claims and labels must be checked by an independent and accredited verifier.
In recent years, the practice of so-called “greenwashing” has resulted in consumers’ distrust of environmental claims. Therefore, the GCD seeks to address this issue by enabling consumers to make informed purchasing decisions. The proposed directive complements the Directive on Empowering Consumers in the Green Transition, which aims to encourage sustainable consumption by providing consumers with reliable and understandable information about the environmental impact of the products they buy. The adoption of the proposed legislation will not only protect the consumers and the environment but will also provide a competitive edge to companies that are truly committed to increasing the environmental sustainability of their activities.
By Nemanja Sladakovic, Senior Associate, Gecic Law