On January 17, 2024, the European Parliament approved the law banning greenwashing.

This represents a new challenge for the fragrance and cosmetic sector, whether it’s natural, traditional, conventional, vegan, or any combination thereof.

So, shall we go through Directive 2023/0085 proposal against greenwashing? Keep reading. Remember, if you have doubts, at Sigillum, we know how to resolve them.

What is the goal of approving the directive against greenwashing?

As a result of the European Green Deal, there is a desire to empower consumers to make informed decisions and promote their role in ecological transition.

For this reason, Directive Proposal 2023/0085 against greenwashing was drafted, amending Directives 2005/29/EC and 2011/83/EU. Its objective is to prevent the use of false environmental claims.

This way, consumers will be empowered to contribute to ecological transition with reliable, comparable, and verifiable information. The utmost priority is for them to make more sustainable choices.

This is how the commission moves towards the commitment to address climate and environmental challenges, with the final deadline set for 2050.

What has been the issue with greenwashing?

Greenwashing has led to deceptive practices at various stages of the consumption process—in advertising, purchasing, and the use of cosmetics and fragrances.

Environmental claims, such as a product or brand having a neutral, less harmful, or improved impact over time, are often poorly substantiated or unclear.

After an inventory of such claims, the following information was extracted:

– 53.3% of 150 evaluated claims provided vague, misleading, or unfounded information.
– 40% of these claims were unjustified and unverifiable.
– 57.5% of 344 sustainability claims could not provide sufficient evidence to support them.

It was also noted that sustainability labels (seals, certifications, etc.) from private or self-owned entities varied in solidity, supervision, and transparency. In fact, half of these had poor verification or lacked it altogether.

For these reasons, consumers cannot determine what is valid, and therefore, they do not make informed decisions.

In addition to promoting equal conditions, this directive will limit the proliferation of labels and claims regarding environmental sustainability.

What will be the key points of the directive against greenwashing?

Primarily, the prohibition of environmental claims that do not meet a set of minimum criteria, as well as sustainability labels lacking transparency and credibility.

Generic claims like eco, green, nature-friendly, ecological, environmentally friendly, or environmentally correct, for example, will be prohibited.

To ensure compliance, actions as crucial as the following will be taken:

Establish a verification mechanism for claims based on scientific evidence (recognized tests and advanced technical knowledge), conducted by an officially accredited body to ensure reliability and truthfulness. Optionally, a conformity certificate can be obtained, guaranteeing that the claim will not be contested.

The use of scores on environmental impacts will be limited. Additionally, they will have a unified methodology for coherence and comparability.

Environmental labels will comply with EU-established requirements. Through a certification system, differences in transparency, methods, reviews, audits, or verifications will be avoided. Self-certification labels will also be prohibited.

Since there are many environmental labels from private entities, only those that add value to nationally or regionally established systems will be allowed. This added value must be demonstrated through:

– Higher environmental ambition of the criteria for granting the label.
– Broader coverage of relevant environmental impacts.
– More thorough evaluation.

Moreover, whenever necessary, information will be included to help consumers use products and reduce their environmental impact. This information, as well as environmental claims, will be presented in a format that considers different generations (physical, web link, QR code, or equivalents).

To ensure equal conditions, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will have access to financial support, funding, training, organizational and technical assistance.

What happens in case of suspicion or non-compliance with this directive?

Authorities in each EU territory can:

– Request information.
– Initiate investigations or procedures.
– Demand corrective measures.
– Adopt precautionary measures.
– Impose sanctions.

When should all the requirements be fulfilled?

The Directive Proposal against greenwashing was approved on January 17, 2024, so once approved, each EU member state must proceed with its transposition according to its respective legal systems.

As established in Article 4 of the provisional agreement resulting from interinstitutional negotiations on November 7, 2023, the European Union (EU) has set a deadline of 24 months from its entry into force.

During these months, member states will adopt and publish the legal, regulatory, and administrative provisions necessary to comply. And 30 months after its entry into force, they will apply them.

How can we help you with compliance with the directive against greenwashing?

Due to the complexity of this directive, we can assist you with:

– Reviewing claims to align them with the directive.
– Creating ad-hoc indicators to assess sustainability.
– Calculating the organic, natural, GMO-free, and vegan content of ingredients.
– Providing advice on more efficient practices.
– Offering methods to justify environmental claims.
– Assessing the sustainability of packaging.

So, if you need assistance, feel free to contact us here!