EP adopts rules on ecology: which claims mislead consumers and which do not

Asociatyvi nuotr.

The European Parliament has confirmed its position on EU rules to avoid misleading consumers and to establish conditions for substantiating claims about the environmental performance of products.

The EU has already recently adopted rules that prohibit misleading consumers about the environmental credentials of products. The draft rules adopted today set out the requirements and deadlines for providing evidence on the eco-friendliness of products, such as whether they are "environmentally friendly", "biodegradable" or "water efficient". EU countries should designate a body that will be responsible for authorising the use of šious claims. MEPs propose a 30-day deadline for verifying claims, according to a European Parliament press release.

Europeans are proposing to continue to ban the use of ecological claims that a product has a neutral, reduced or positive impact on the environment, as well as claims that rely on the use of carbon credits. The Ištake would apply to claims that are intended to reflect the residual amount of greenhouse gases emitted.

In order to avoid a disproportionate administrative burden, the new rules would not apply to micro-enterprises (with nine or fewer employees and an annual turnover of up to €2 million), while small and medium-sized enterprises would have an additional year to prepare for the application of the rules. Non-compliance with the rules would result in fines of up to 4% of the company's annual turnover or exclusion from public procurement.

EP MEP Andrus Ansip said that research shows that more than half of the claims made about the environmental performance of products are unclear, misleading or unsubstantiated.

„We cannot talk about satisfied consumers if a large number of environmental claims are false. We cannot talk about a level playing field for our businesses if some traders are committing fraud. I believe that today we have adopted balanced rules that will provide clarity for our consumers and traders," he stressed.

Another MEP, Cyrus Engerer, added that it is essential to prevent consumers from being misled and the new rules will help to achieve this.

„We will ensure that businesses have the necessary tools to respect sustainability and to justify claims about the environmental credentials of products with science“, – he said.

The draft EU rules, which became the European Parliament's first position, were supported by 467 MEPs, with 65 opposed and 74 abstentions. Further coordination of the rules with the EU Council will be taken over by the newly elected Parliament after the European elections on 9 June.