Stop to Greenwashing. The new EU Parliament directive

Stop to generic environment declarations. Enough with misleading information on products.

From now on, only sustainability labels based on approved certification systems or established by public authorities will be allowed. And the guarantee information will have to be more visible. That is to say: EU Parliament puts an end to greenwashing and to deceptive information.

The new directive has finally been approved on January 17 with 593 votes in favour, 21 against and 14 abstentions. The aim of the Parliament is that of protecting consumers from misleading marketing practices, helping them to make more informed purchasing choices – improving product labelling and forbidding the use of misleading environmental declarations. For this reason, several problematic marketing habits related to greenwashing and to the early obsolescence of goods have been added to the European list of banned commercial practices.   

The directive is now waiting for the final approval by the European Council; after that, it will be published in the Official Journal. Member states, among whom Italy, will have one year to transpose it in their national law.

The new rules aim at making product labelling clearer and more trustworthy, by forbidding the use of generic environmental claims (“environmentally friendly”, “animal friendly”, “green”, “natural”, “biodegradable”, “climate neutral”, “eco”, etc.) if not supported by evidence. And more: the use of sustainability labels too will be regulated, considering the confusion created by their proliferation and by the lack of comparative data. In the future, only sustainability labels based on official certification systems or established by public authorities will be allowed in the EU. Moreover, the directive will ban claims that a product has a neutral, reduced, or positive impact on the environment because of emissions offsetting schemes.

The new law has another important goal – that of making producers and consumers focus more on the durability of the goods. For this reason, in the future the information on the guarantee will have to be more visible, thanks to the creation of a new label that will give more relevance to products with an extended guarantee period. Unfunded durability information, prompting to replace goods sooner than necessary, or presenting goods as repairable when they are not – all this will be forbidden.  

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