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Protecting consumers from greenwashing: new rules for sustainable, durable and repairable products.

In Europe.


A ‘recycled plastic’ t-shirt, an ‘ocean friendly’ sunscreen or a ‘carbon compensated’ travel ticket. Appealing for people who want to make a difference for the planet, right ? Well, only at the European Union (EU) there are about 230 different eco labels on the market.


To protect consumers, The European Parliament (EP) voted the new “Directive on Green Claims” on Thursday (11 May) to support and improve product durability by combatting greenwashing and misleading claims on consumer labels, as well as enhanced durability requirements. The plenary result was an overwhelming majority: 544 votes in favour, 18 against, 17 abstentions.


‘This will encourage competition towards more environmentally sustainable products’ EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders.


Terms such as ‘natural’, ‘eco’, ‘eco-friendly’, ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘green’, ‘biodegradable’, ‘climate neutral’, ‘CO2 neutral’ or ‘carbon neutral’ can only be used if supported by evidence. Official certification schemes, recognised or established by public authorities, have a key role to play. It was also forbidden to make green claims about the whole product when only part is actually ‘sustainable’.


  • manufacturers should not limit a product’s functionality when it is used with spare parts or accessories, such as chargers, made by other companies

  • its includes ban on design features that limit a product’s life or lead to goods malfunctioning prematurely, such as printer settings that require replacing ink cartridges before they are empty, or that stop working after a time


Besides another specific proposal to define what ‘sustainable’ products and services should be, there are still differing opinions between the EP and the European Council of Ministers (EC) on whether claims that are based solely on carbon offsetting schemes, rather than actual greenhouse gas emission reductions, should be banned.


With the EP’s position now decided, the final text of the directive will have now to be agreed with the 27 EU member states represented in the EC .


Click at the image below to read the official press release.



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“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty”

Madame Marie Curie (1867 - 1934) Chemist & physicist. French, born Polish.

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