Today it is difficult for consumers, companies and other market actors to make sense of the many environmental labels and initiatives on the environmental performance of products and companies. There are more than 200 environmental labels active in the EU, and more than 450 active worldwide; there are more than 80 widely used reporting initiatives and methods for carbon emissions only. Some of these methods and initiatives are reliable, some not; they are variable in the issues they cover.
Another issue is greenwashing – companies giving a false impression of their environmental impact or benefits. Greenwashing misleads market actors and does not give due advantage to those companies that are making the effort to green their products and activities. It ultimately leads to a less green economy.
To tackle this issue, the European Green Deal states “Companies making ‘green claims’ should substantiate these against a standard methodology to assess their impact on the environment”.
The 2020 Circular Economy action plan commits that “the Commission will also propose that companies substantiate their environmental claims using Product and Organisation Environmental Footprint methods.”
It is important that claims on the environmental performance of companies and products are reliable, comparable and verifiable across the EU. Reliable environmental information would allow market actors – consumers, companies, investors – to take greener decisions.
This initiative has close links to other policies announced in the Circular Economy action plan:
All these initiatives will seek to establish jointly a coherent policy framework to help the Union to make sustainable goods, services and business models the norm and to transform consumption patterns in a more sustainable direction. They aim to reduce significantly the environmental footprint of products consumed in the Union and contribute to the overall policy objective of EU climate neutrality by 2050.
Day 1 – 16 November 2020
10.00-12.00 Plenary: The green claims initiative – unlocking opportunities for the circular and green economy
Information on the policy options, links to other policy initiatives and general discussion
14.00-16.00 Workshop 1: Communicating green claims
How can environmental information become an influencer of decisions? What information do users need? What are the challenges around communicating and using environmental information? How to overcome challenges?
Day 2 – 17 November 2020
10.00-12.00 Workshop 2: Challenges for companies in substantiating green claims
Which are the challenges to put the green claims initiative into practice? How can policy makers (in the EU and at MS level) support affected stakeholders?
14.00-16.00 Workshop 3: Reliability of information
What would be the most effective solutions for market surveillance? What safeguards are required to ensure the reliability of green claims?
Day 3 – 24 November 2020
10:00 - 12:00 Workshop 4: Implications of the green claims initiative for ecolabels
What would be the effects of the policy options under the green claims initiative on existing ecolabels, with special focus on ISO type I ecolabels? How could potential synergies be exploited?
Initiative on substantiating green claims:
Environmental footprint methods: