On Thursday 11th May (2023), the EU parliament voted in favour of new anti-greenwashing rules. The proposal for improvements in product durability and rules to combat greenwashing was voted in with a significant majority.
The results stood at 544 votes in favour of the proposal, 18 against and 17 were abstentions. This majority now means that the proposal will be discussed by the EU member states in order to finalise it within law.
The main aim of the proposal is to encourage consumers to make more eco-friendly purchases and choices, as well as encouraging companies to produce products that are more durable and will last longer.
To combat greenwashing the proposal has set out rules to prevent the use of generic greenwashing terms. These terms include ‘biodegradable’, ‘eco’, ‘environmentally friendly’, and ‘natural’, if these terms are used a company needs to be able to back up its use with evidence.
This ban has also been placed on companies using carbon offsetting schemes. Terms such as ‘CO2 neutral’ or ‘carbon neutral’ have been banned, as they have been used to mislead consumers.
Companies have also been forbidden to claim their products are green if only one part of a specific product is sustainable.
European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders stated that:
“This proposal aims to strengthen the
fight against greenwashing by banning
practices that mislead consumers on the actual
sustainability of products. By doing so,
consumers can choose products that are
generally better for the environment.
This will encourage competition towards
more environmentally sustainable products.”
The European Environmental Bureau (EEB), which is made up of 170 environmental citizens’ organisations, has claimed that these rules are: