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Stricter rules for green claims and environment-related advertising in the EU. What’s changing?
Green claims like “emission-free” and “climate-neutral” are unavoidable in advertising. But these environment-related advertising statements are of limited significance for consumers. A 2020 study by the European Commission categorised more than half of all green claims in the EU as vague, misleading or unfounded.
New conditions are set to counter this trend. In March 2023, the European Commission set out draft guidelines for how these conditions might look. But it may be some time before they actually come into force. France has already taken action with a new law that applies clear conditions to environment-related advertising, which has been in effect since 1 January 2023.
Regulations for green claims in the EU are being tightened under the European Commission’s action plan for the circular economy. The new guidelines introduce clear, uniform standards for environment-related advertising to ensure that green claims are reliable, comparable and verifiable. The goal is to prevent greenwashing and empower consumers in the EU to make informed purchasing decisions.
The guidelines also apply to offset claims which will have to meet stricter criteria in future, including that:
Companies that violate the new standards will be fined. The new tighter rules are not yet final, and still have to be adopted by the European Parliament and the European Council. There is no precise timetable for further steps as yet.
Since 1 January 2023, France has been subject to a law (Art. L229-68 du code de l’environnement) that imposes strict conditions on environment-related advertising. Terms like “climate-neutral” and similar formulations are only allowed in advertising for a product or service if the company in question:
The myclimate “Engaged for impact” label already meets the new requirements. In host countries, companies can use it to prove that they save as much on emissions as they produce. This puts credibility around their own reduction measures up front in their communications. Experts from myclimate put together carbon footprint calculations, subject to plausibility checks, which serve as the basis for calculations. Products and services that bear the impact label will continue to fulfil applicable criteria, even when the tighter regulations are introduced.
Save the Date 30. Mai
Tuesday, 30 May 2023, 4:00 to 5:30 pm, Cloud Talk with myclimate: hybrid event entitled “Climate protection today: measures and strategies for businesses”, with Axel Ritzberger, CEO of the Utz Group, Christof Huber, Director of OpenAir St. Gallen, and Kathrin Dellantonio, Managing Director of myclimate Switzerland. The event will be moderated by Carolin Roth, freelance moderator, reporter and journalist.