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The EU Green Claims Directive passed another major milestone recently as Parliament adopted its position on the legislation. While Parliament adopted its first reading position, the legislation still has some development to go and will have to be picked up by the successor Parliament after the June elections. The law is a major piece of the EU’s strategy to combat greenwashing, along with the recently passed Directive for Empowering Consumers and the pending Eco-design regulation. The Green Claims Directive adds legal guardrails around how companies make certain sustainability claims about their products, especially claims that are generic or ambiguous. Parliament describes it in their press release:

“The green claims directive would oblige companies to submit evidence about their environmental marketing claims before advertising products as ‘biodegradable’, ‘less polluting’, ‘water saving’ or having ‘bio based content’. EU countries would have to assign verifiers to pre-approve the use of such claims, to protect buyers from unfounded and ambiguous advertising.”

This is a very different approach than most companies are used to. Jurisdictions typically combat greenwashing through consumer protection litigation and enforcement after a company’s statements about a product have misled consumers. This law proactively prevents companies from greenwashing by requiring proof to be submitted to a member state appointed verifier before the claim is made. Under Parliament’s current position, evidence would be assessed within 30 days of submission – although micro enterprises are exempt from the evidence requirements. It is unclear if the EU’s expected shift to the right after elections will impact the law’s development.

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The Editor

Zachary Barlow is a licensed attorney. He earned his JD from the University of Mississippi and has a bachelor’s in Public Policy Leadership. He practiced law at a mid-size firm and handled a wide variety of cases. During this time he assisted in overseeing compliance of a public entity and litigated contract disputes, gaining experience both in and outside of the courtroom. Zachary currently assists the editorial team by providing research and creating content on a spectrum of ESG… View Profile