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Rules to improve ‘green’ labelling passed

17 Jan 2024 / eu Print

Rules to improve ‘green’ labelling passed

The European Parliament has backed a directive aimed at improving product-labelling that will ban the use of misleading environmental claims.

MEPs voted in favour of the proposal by 593 votes to 21.

The European Commission proposed the Green Claims Directive last year, saying that the absence of common rules for companies making ‘green’ claims about their products or services led to ‘greenwashing’.

The new rules aim to make product labelling clearer and more trustworthy by banning the use of general environmental claims like ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘natural’, ‘biodegradable’, ‘climate neutral’, or ‘eco’ without proof.

Official schemes

The use of sustainability labels will also now be regulated – in future, only those based on official certification schemes or established by public authorities will be allowed in the EU.

The directive will also ban claims that a product has a neutral, reduced, or positive impact on the environment because of emissions-offsetting schemes.

The new law also aims to make producers and consumers focus more on the durability of goods, requiring guarantee information to be more visible, and creating a new, harmonised label to give more prominence to goods with an extended guarantee period.

The directive will also ban unfounded durability claims, prompts to replace consumables earlier than strictly necessary, and presenting goods as repairable when they are not.

The directive now needs to receive final approval from the EU Council.

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