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31 March 2022
European Commission targets greenwashing
SustainabilityAdvertising regulationGovernment, social policy
Greenwashing will be banned under new legislation proposed by the European Commission, which is also aiming to crack down on early obsolescence as part of moves to encourage consumers towards more sustainable choices.
Why it matters
The proposal is part of the European Commission’s wider European Green Deal package, which also tackles textile waste in the fast fashion industry and pushes forward a circular economy. These proposals aren’t yet law but brands and marketers will need to start preparing for a future in which the Commission envisages sustainable products as the norm.
not informing consumers about any inbuilt obsolescence;
making vague environmental claims that can’t be substantiated;
making an environmental claim about the entire product, when it really concerns only a certain aspect of the product;
displaying a voluntary sustainability label which was not based on a third-party verification scheme or established by public authorities;
not informing that a product has limited functionality when using consumables, spare parts or accessories not provided by the original producer.
Amendments are aimed at facilitating enforcement of cases related to greenwashing and early obsolescence of products.
The Commission's proposals will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers before being adopted into member states’ national legislation. The impact will likely be felt beyond Europe.