Back in May, we blogged about the EU’s new Directive Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition Through Better Protections Against Unfair Practices and Better Information (“the Directive.”) That blog discussed Parliament’s vote on the law and the implications for companies marketing their products as “net-zero” when those claims are based on carbon offsets. This week, the EU Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement on the law, bringing it within spitting distance of passing. The final version includes the net-zero ban we discussed previously along with several other provisions. Parliament’s press release lists the following practices as being outlawed under the new legislation:
- “generic environmental claims, e.g. ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘natural’, ‘biodegradable’, ‘climate neutral’ or ‘eco’, without proof of recognised excellent environmental performance relevant to the claim;
- commercial communications about a good with a feature that limits its durability if information is available on the feature and its effects on the durability;
- claims based on emissions offsetting schemes that a product has neutral, reduced or positive impact on the environment;
- sustainability labels not based on approved certification schemes or established by public authorities;
- durability claims in terms of usage time or intensity under normal conditions, if not proven;
- prompting the consumer to replace consumables, such as printer ink cartridges, earlier than strictly necessary;
- presenting software updates as necessary even if they only enhance functionality features;
- presenting goods as repairable when they are not.”
The Directive awaits its final vote from both Parliament and the Council, which is expected to come in November. If passed, it will certainly tighten up standards around sustainability marketing, and it isn’t the only EU law emerging in this area. The European Green Claims Directive is also around the corner which will introduce new requirements for the substantiation, communication, and validation of environmental claims in marketing.
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