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Greenwashing: from the European Parliament new rules on falsely sustainable products

Generic and baseless environmental claims and planned obsolescence will be prohibited

The European Parliament has voted new rules to improve product labeling and durability and put an end to misleading claims. With 544 votes in favour, 18 against and 17 abstentions, the plenary approved its negotiating position on a new proposal for a directive on consumer empowerment for the green transition. The main objective is to help consumers make environmentally friendly choices and encourage companies to offer them more durable and sustainable products.

The negotiating mandate approved by Parliament plans to ban the use of generic environmental claims such as 'environmentally friendly', 'natural', 'biodegradable', 'climate neutral' or 'ecological' if they are not accompanied by evidence detailed. It also aims to ban environmental claims based solely on carbon offsetting schemes.

Other deceptive practices such as making claims about the whole product if the claim is true only for a part of it, or claiming that a product will last a certain period of time or can be used with a certain level of intensity if this is not true will also be prohibited. True. To simplify product information, MEPs plan to authorize only sustainability labels based on official certification schemes or established by public authorities.

To increase the life of products, the European Parliament wants to ban the introduction of design features that limit the life of a product or cause it to fail prematurely. Furthermore, manufacturers should not be allowed to limit the functionality of a product when it is used with consumables, replacement parts or accessories (such as chargers or ink cartridges) manufactured by other companies.

To help people choose products that are more durable and repairable, buyers should be made aware of any repair limitations before purchasing. MEPs are also proposing a new guarantee stamp indicating not only the length of coverage required by law, but also the length of any warranty extensions offered by manufacturers. This is to highlight quality products and motivate companies to focus more on durability.

On 3 May, the EU Council adopted its negotiating mandate. This means that negotiations between Parliament and the Member States on the content and final wording of the directive can start soon.

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EFA News - European Food Agency