The European Commission (EC) has announced the publication and call for feedback on the roadmap for an initiative that will require companies to use standardized quantification methods to substantiate claims made about the environmental footprint of their products or services. The EC writes that the aim is “to make the claims reliable, comparable and verifiable across the EU” as well as to reduce “greenwashing” in which “companies [are] giving a false impression of their environmental impact.”

In the published inception impact assessment document, the EC recognizes the overwhelming number “of methods to measure and assess environmental impacts and a proliferation of labels and claims related to environmental information, which goes hand in hand with a proliferation of misleading environmental, including climate-related, claims.” Objectives of the initiative include “moving to a more harmonised approach for providing reliable environmental information, increasing simplification and reduction of administrative burdens, especially for [small and medium sized enterprises] SMEs.” The document outlines a preliminary set of potential options to do this, but clarifies that these and others will be discussed in more detail in later phases of the initiative.

The initiative is set to support actions proposed under the EU Circular Economy Action Plan and Farm to Fork Strategy, which both set out to empower consumers to make informed decisions and plan to address green claims. Feedback is being accepted via the initiative’s online page until August 31, 2020. A public consultation is scheduled for the third quarter of 2020, and the EC is expected to adopt the final document in the second quarter of 2021.

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EC (July 20, 2020). “Environmental performance of products & businesses – substantiating claims.”