Honesty in marketing: European Parliament bans unfounded environmental claims

A new directive adopted on 17 January 2024 by the European Parliament has the objective of safeguarding consumers against deceptive marketing strategies and facilitating informed purchasing choices. To accomplish this, several marketing practices, such as greenwashing and premature obsolescence of goods, will be included in the EU’s list of prohibited commercial practices.

Primarily, the new regulations are designed to enhance the transparency and reliability of product labelling by prohibiting the utilisation of generic environmental assertions, such as “environmentally friendly,” “natural,” “biodegradable,” “climate neutral,” or “eco,” in the absence of substantiating evidence. Regulation will now be implemented to govern the use of sustainability labels due to their excessive presence and the absence of comparative data, which is leading to confusion. Only sustainability labels that are derived from official certification systems or established by authorities will be allowed in the EU in the future. Furthermore, the directive will forbid assertions that a product has a neutral, diminished, or favourable effect on the environment because of emissions offsetting schemes.

The new directive also aims to enhance manufacturers’ and consumers’ attention towards the durability of goods. In future, guarantee information must be more visible and a new, harmonised label will be created to highlight goods with an extended guarantee period. The new regulations additionally forbid making unsupported claims about the durability of products (such as falsely stating that a washing machine can endure 5’000 wash cycles under normal circumstances). They also discourage the premature replacement of consumables (such as printer ink) and the misrepresentation of goods as repairable when they are not.

These are the upcoming dates for our Annual General Meetings:

Thursday, 21 March 2024
Thursday, 20 March 2025