The European Commission is expected to present a Proposal for a Directive on Green Claims  (“Proposed Green Claims Directive” or “the Proposal”) within the next few months.  Together with the Proposal for a Directive empowering consumers for the green transition through better protection against unfair practices and better information (“Consumer Empowerment Directive Proposal”), the Proposed Green Claims Directive would contribute to the EU’s green transition towards a circular, climate-neutral and clean economy by creating a common methodology for the substantiation of green claims that concern the environmental footprint of products, services and companies.  It would aim to reduce greenwashing and enable consumers to take informed purchasing decisions based on reliable information about the sustainability of products and traders.

If adopted, it is likely to significantly limit the environmental claims that businesses can make in the EU/EEA.  Businesses may want to consider approaching the Commission to try to influence the final legislative proposal that it is expected to present by March 2023.  Once the Commission presents its legislative proposal, businesses should consider proposing amendments to the European Parliament and Council. 

Continue Reading Upcoming EU Rules on Green Claims

On December 14, 2022, during an open Commission meeting, the Federal Trade Commission voted unanimously to issue a Federal Register notice requesting comments on the efficacy of the Green Guides.  The initial request for comments seeks input on whether to retain, modify, or rescind the Guides.  The notice was published in late December, marking the beginning of a 60-day comment period that ends on February 21, 2023.

Continue Reading FTC Launches Green Guides Review, 60-day Comment Period Closes February 2023

As more companies recognize the value of enhanced sustainability reporting and publicize the positive environmental features of their products and services, they should also be attentive to greater public scrutiny of “green” claims.  Companies that engage in greenwashing – asserting exaggerated, misstated, or immaterial environmental claims – are increasingly exposed to reputational damage and legal battles, as regulators, investors, and civil society actors dedicate more resources to scrutinizing environmental claims.  Companies also face growing pressure from investors to publish standardized and rigorous sustainability information that allows for cross-industry benchmarking.
Continue Reading Companies Face Greater Scrutiny for Misleading Environmental Claims and Nonstandard Sustainability Reporting