EU to Require Companies to Prove Green Claims with Scientific Evidence

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EU to Require Companies to Prove Green Claims with Scientific Evidence


Companies in EU countries must provide scientific evidence to support any environmental claims made about their products, according to draft proposals from the European Commission, as reported by Reuters on January 13. Aside from proving their green claims, companies will also be required to disclose any negative impacts their products may have in other areas. These new rules are expected to be implemented in the coming months and will apply to all products and services in the EU unless they are already covered by similar EU regulations. Under the new rules, EU members would be able to punish companies that fail to provide evidence for their claims.

The new rules were intended to crack down on greenwashing and ensure a fair playing field for businesses when promoting their environmental initiatives. A survey conducted by the European Commission in 2020 found that 53% of the claims studied provided “vague, misleading or unfounded information about products’ environmental characteristics.”  To address this issue, the Commission is seeking to establish a standardized framework for assessing the environmental impact of products and verifying claims such as “100% recycled” or “all-natural”. Under the new rules, companies making green claims must evaluate their products using the product environmental footprint (PEF) methodology or other EU-approved methodologies. The PEF methodology covers 16 impacts, such as climate change, land use, and water use. However, the enhanced supervision of greenwashing also raised concerns among businesses that the added bureaucratic process will impede EU industries’ competitiveness.