The EU has reached an agreement to prohibit Greenwashing.

Eine Kundin steht im Supermarkt vor einem Regal mit Putzmitteln

A customer is standing in front of a shelf with cleaning products in a supermarket.

Foto: Erwin Wodicka / McPHOTO / IMAGO

„I cannot reword“

Consumers will also receive significantly more information about the durability of a product and whether it can be repaired. This significantly expands the EU’s list of prohibited business practices.

„The consumers get lost in a jungle of green claims, without knowing which ones are trustworthy,“ said Ursula Pachl, Deputy Director-General of the European Consumer Organisation Beuc. „Fortunately, the new regulations bring some order to the chaos of environmental information. Companies will have to explain why a product is environmentally friendly.“

Umwelthilfe spricht von »Meilenstein für Verbraucherschutz«

The German Environmental Aid (DUH) described it as a „milestone for consumer protection“ and a „slap in the face for the consumer protection ministers at the federal and state levels who have not taken action so far“. Since spring 2022, the DUH has been suing an increasing number of companies in Germany that deceive consumers with misleading claims about allegedly environmentally or climate-neutral products.

Zulässig sollen künftig nur solche Nachhaltigkeitssiegel sein, die auf anerkannten Systemen basieren oder von Behörden festgelegt wurden. Aussagen wie »klimaneutral« oder »klimapositiv«, die nur auf CO₂-Ausgleich basieren, dürften wohl komplett verboten werden. »Wo klimafreundlich draufsteht, muss klimafreundlich drin sein«, sagte der verbraucherschutzpolitische Sprecher der Europa-SPD, René Repasi.

Mehr zum Thema

However, it is not only about so-called greenwashing, but also about the durability of products. Therefore, consumers should receive more and better information about how durable a product is and whether it can be repaired. „New regulations on premature wear will make it more difficult in the future for products that break down faster than necessary to remain on the market,“ said Green Party politician Anna Cavazzini. This will be the first time that „the practice of manufacturers limiting durability is recognized as an unfair business practice.“

Pflicht zur Angabe über Verfügbarkeit von Ersatzteilen

In the future, individuals should not be prompted to replace materials such as printer cartridges earlier than necessary. Additionally, if possible, retailers must provide a repair index, indicating the availability and price of replacement parts. Warranty also plays a role, and information regarding it must now be made more visible, as many people are unaware that all goods in the EU have a minimum two-year warranty, according to the Parliament’s statement.

„I cannot reword“

The new regulations aim to enable buyers to make informed decisions and thus shop more sustainably. This is intended to promote the circular economy in the EU and achieve the goals of the Green Deal, which states that the European Union should become climate-neutral by 2050.

The European Parliament and the EU member states still need to approve the agreement. However, this is considered a mere formality. Nevertheless, it will be up to the member states to implement the new rules afterwards.