EU Green Claims Directive 2023 (GCD) - still in progress

Reliable, comparable and verifiable environmental labelling

On March 22, 2023 the European Commission proposed a Directive on Green claims, putting forward new rules to stop misleading environmental claims and ensure trustworthy information on the sustainability of products.

Presently there are about 230 environmental labels in use in the EU, with half lacking verification from a third party. This leads to confusion for consumers and creates an uneven playing field for companies making a genuine effort to improve their environmental performance.

The main objective of the Green Claims Directive is to combat greenwashing (false product claims) by establishing clear guidelines for companies on promoting environmental claims to consumers.

On 14 February 2024 the amendments to the proposal was accepted by the committee Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the committee Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. The report will be put to a vote in plenary in March 2024.

The file will be followed up by the new Parliament after the European elections on 6-9 June 2024.

After the EU member states approve the proposal and it becomes law, they will have 18 months to establish national laws adopting the Green Claims Directive. The member states then have 6 months to start applying the new rules.

Member States would have to ensure that companies carry out an assessment to substantiate explicit environmental claims, meeting a number of requirements, including:

  • specifying if the claim concerns the whole product or part of it, or if the claim concerns all activities of a company or only some of them;

  • basing claims on widely recognized scientific evidence, using accurate information and international standards;

  • taking a life-cycle perspective;

  • taking all the significant environmental aspects and impacts into account to assess the environmental performance;

  • and more

Obviously using third party verified EPD data to substantiate claims will be a solid way to go forward.